Archive for Corporations

Blackberry a Defense for Google Against Rockstar?

If you haven’t been watching the news today, a big bomb was dropped on Google. The Rockstar consortium (Apple, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Ericsson, Sony, and EMC) has sued Google as well as Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE. Is there an obvious and easy way around Rockstar?

Brief History

So what happened is this. Nortel was going bankrupt. Google bid for their patents, but lost out to a consortium of companies. That consortium includes Apple, BlackBerry(then known as RIM), Microsoft, Ericsson, Sony, and EMC. Even at the time, Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, wrote that Microsoft, Apple and others were engaging in hostile patent warfare against Android.

Silver Bullet?

BlackberrySo, how can Google and company get around this particular issue? There may be a quick and easy was to do it. Maybe. I won’t pretend to be a an expert at patent law, but I do know that one member of that consortium is not doing particularly well these days. In fact, they’ve been shopping around for a buyer. Blackberry. As a member of the consortium, they would have full rights to the patents owned by the consortium. A purchase of Blackberry by Google would bring ownership of those patents (at least partial) to Google, making the suits against Google moot.

Second Option?

Department of JusticeEven if a Blackberry purchase isn’t a possibility, there’s another possible solution out there as well. During the initial purchase, the DOJ investigated the companies involved because they were concerned (as was I) that the patents being purchased would be used in an offensive against Android. As it turns out, they were right about that (and by extension so was I). The DOJ only approved the purchase with the hopes that Rockstar would only use the intellectual property it purchased strictly to defend itself from Android initiated lawsuits. It may be that the DOJ may not take kindly to this particular aggressive action by Rockstar.

Summary

There’s quite a bit of worry out there today regarding these new suits against Google and the Android ecosystem. I’m not going to say that worry isn’t warranted, but there are options available to Google that could very well make this a minor bump in the road. We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out, but this lawsuit may not be the huge problem so many people think it’s going to be.

Why Can’t I Watch Disney Junior?

Watch Disney JuniorI have three kids 5 and under, and so we’re always looking for a good way to keep them occupied in the car and around town, and they all love Disney stuff. In fact, Disney is the only reason we haven’t completely cut the cord as far as television is concerned.

My wife saw this on TV this morning. There’s an App for the Kindle Fire to Watch Disney Junior. We already knew there was an app for iDevices.

Now, you’d think that because the Kindle Fire is really an Android device, they’d put this out in the Play Store or make it available to more than just the Kindle Fire. You’d think that, but they don’t. This app is listed as incompatible with my Nexus 4 and my Nexus 7, and only exists in the Amazon App Store, despite the fact that Disney has released more apps to the Play Store than the Amazon App Store.

It’s not just the Disney Junior app either. Disney has an app to watch the standard Disney Channel, and to Watch Disney XD. None of these apps are available for Android outside of the Kindle Fire.

Is Amazon paying Apple to keep these apps exclusive to the Kindle Fire, or is Apple intentionally avoiding the Android platform outside of the Fire?

Is Amazon Paying Apple for Watch Disney Junior?

It’s possible that Amazon is paying Apple to keep these apps exclusive. This seems unlikely to me as none of these apps are being billed as exclusive by Amazon. If they were going to pay Apple to keep these apps away from other Android devices, you’d think that they’d brag about it. They’re not bragging, so I doubt that they’re paying Apple for these apps.

Is Disney Intentionally Avoiding Android?

Disney and Apple have had some pretty solid ties in the past. I’m sure we’re all aware that Steve Jobs sat on Disney’s Board of Directors. That was because he was pretty much the owner of Pixar when Disney bought it. As a result of that purchase, Jobs joined the board and became the single largest individual shareholder of Disney stock. Many people probably don’t know that Disney and Pixar weren’t the best of friends until Bob Iger replaced Michael Eisner, and Iger currently sits on both the Board of Directors to both Disney and Apple. Also, the stock owned by Steve Jobs didn’t exactly vanish into the wind when he died. It transferred to the Steven P. Jobs Trust (now the Laurene Powell Jobs Trust) run by his wife. Disney’s ties to Apple are still very strong, so this seems like the more likely choice.

Other Ideas?

There is, of course, a third possibility. I hadn’t noticed the Watch Disney Junior app being available even for the Kindle Fire until this morning. I can honestly say that I don’t know how long it’s been available. The first Amazon review for it shows up on February 16, 2013. That means that it’s only been available on the Kindle Fire for about six months. It’s possible that the app is still in progress for a wider selection of Android devices. Six months seems like a long time if that’s the case, but I’ll admit to not being aware of all the processes required to get an app done at Disney. I’ll update this article if the app suddenly appears on the Play Store.

Regardless, it’s very annoying. I’m not going to buy an iDevice just to have this app. I would like to see the app become available for other Android devices, but it’s been more than a year that it’s been available for iDevices and at least six months for the Kindle Fire. If Disney were going to release it for Android, you’d think they’d have done it by now. Maybe I’m wrong. Let me know in the comments.

Watched Apple’s Announcements Today

I watched Apple’s announcements today.

I was totally inspired.

More Apple Demands

More Apple DemandsWith it’s most recent step in the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung debacle, Apple has made a surprising demand. From Google. Charlie Osborne over at ZDNet had a pretty good run down of Apple’s demands. My thoughts, both the court and Google should tell Apple to go to hell.

Know what Open Source Is?

First of all, Android is Open Source. The code that Samsung and countless others have downloaded to create their phone is available for free on the Internet. Anybody can grab it. What would a demand from the court get you that a few minutes with a web browser wouldn’t?

Who Is On Trial Here?

I’m sorry, but if the information you need is not part of the source code that is open and available to the Internet, then it’s part of Google’s private business. Why the hell should Google be required to hand over any of their private matters to a competing company that’s doing their best to wipe Google out when Google isn’t the one on trial? If Apple’s beef is with Google, then sack up Apple and sue Google. Going “thermonuclear on Android” by attacking anybody and everybody that uses it is the cowards way.

Makes No Sense

Seriously, how does this make sense? If Google is in violation, sue Google. If Samsung is in violation, then the materials that Google has (other than the already publicly available source code) are none of Apple’s business. Google shouldn’t even waste the paper for a response. The judge should kick their dumb asses out of court for making stupid demands. Of course, this “trial” is taking place in San Jose, which is right in Apple’s back yard, and Samsung is not even an American company, so the odds that the judge will cave to every stupid demand Apple makes is greatly increased. This whole thing is seriously pissing me off, and reducing the already minuscule chances that I’d ever buy an Apple product. If anyone who works at Apple is reading this, I want to make this absolutely clear: I will go back to one of these before I ever buy an iPhone. Get me?

Old Phone

Antivirus for Linux

LinuxBugIt never fails to amaze me just how the same arguments keep coming up over and over again, like bad pennies. Most of them ignore facts so blatantly it gives me a headache.

The I’m referring to today is the one about Linux Viruses.

First of all, Linux Viruses exist. Yep, it’s true, they exist. There’s actually a couple of them. Wikipedia lists an even 30 of them. There’s even Virus protection for Linux.

True, compared to MacOS and Windows, that’s a drop in the bucket. Barely worth noticing. And that’s where the same old argument comes up time and again.

“The reason that Linux doesn’t have viruses like MacOS and Windows is because it’s not as popular!” The argument is that if more people used Linux, there actually would be viruses for Linux. The completely ignores the fact that the desktop is the exception, not the rule. Linux dominates elsewhere. Servers, smart phones, super computers, etc. Linux is kicking ass and taking names. A virus that could infect all those systems would be hugely valuable both monetarily and for a reputation. Yet, it doesn’t happen.

Even  the ones that already exist pretty much suck compared to their Microsoft and Apple counterparts.

So is there a reason to even consider running anti-virus on your Linux computer? Shockingly, the answer is still yes, but not for the same reasons some Mac users and all Windows users should.

You should run anti-virus on your Linux machine as a courtesy to your non-Linux using friends. Their systems aren’t as impervious as yours, so even though your computer is unlikely to get any infection, the same can’t be said for theirs. This also helps you in the long run when all those non-Linux computers aren’t infected blasting out TBs of garbage data out onto the Internet, slowing your connection down and filling your Inbox with spam.

In the long run, we all win.

Phil Schiller Displays Apple’s Desperation

Desperate AppleReading the comments made by Phil Schiller in a recent Wall Street Journal interview, you could smell the stink of desperation wafting off the pages.

“When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with. They don’t work seamlessly together.”

It’s pretty obvious that Schiller has either no idea about the Android experience, or isn’t interested in telling the truth. Of course, he went on to talk about Android fragmentation (which really has no impact on the end user at all).

This follows up a rare tweet he made regarding Android security.

To me, as an Android user, all Schiller has managed to do is display a complete and utter lack of knowledge or understanding of the Android experience and environment. He suggested that Android phones are cheap giveaways by carriers, ignoring the fact that iPhones are also given away (you can get an iPhone 4 for 99 cents on AT&T if you’re a new customer or upgrading an existing plan). This is typical of Apple, where facts have never mattered. Now as they watch the mobile market slip through their fingers, the desperation becomes more and more obvious.

I Don’t Hate the iPhone

iphone_trash_verizon-300x299I feel like, after reading a recent article that I’m not going to bother linking, that I need to clarify my position on the iPhone. This will probably come as a surprise to some of you, but I don’t hate the iPhone. I think that the iPhone an adequate smart phone, but nothing specially. It’s less functional than it’s competition, so I don’t see any reason to buy one, but I don’t hate it. Here’s what I do hate.

Apple

That’s right, I don’t hate the iPhone, but I absolutely hate Apple. Apple as a company has always been more of a follower than a leader, but they love to puff themselves up and pretend that they’re the greatest innovators known to man. That’s bull. They’re no more innovators than any other company in the computer industry. Much less than some. Especially these days where they’re more likely to try to sue someone for something they didn’t invent than actually invent something. For some reason every time some executive at Apple passes gas, it “changes the industry”. Please, save it for someone who doesn’t know any better.

Speaking of…..

Apple Fanatics

True, I don’t hate the iPhone, but I absolutely hate Apple fanatics. I especially hate Apple fanatics that say things like, “I am NOT an Apple fanboy. I’m a techie and it just so happens that Apple is amazing. I give credit where credit is due.” All that saying something like that proves to me is that you’re an Apple fanatic and a complete imbecile. There are some people who are fans of Apple that actually have some semblance of a clue, and I don’t want to group those people in with the Apple Fanatic (at least so far as I group them). Apple Fanatics are clueless blowhards that think Steve Jobs shit rainbows and gold bars. More often than not, they’re under the impression that Apple invented pretty much everything.

The Apple Logo

cool-iphone-4-casesThis may have been covered by just Apple in general, but while I don’t hate the iPhone, I despise that stupid logo. Apple puts it in the middle of all their products as big as they can make it. I’m fairly certain that Apple could have made some of it’s devices smaller if they’d have not put such a huge logo on it. Further, I hate cases that go out of their way to not cover up the logo. These are the type of cases that Apple Fanatics buy, and I can’t think of a single other company that even has something like this available. There’s no reason to have a case like this unless the logo is somehow important to you, and if the logo is important to you, then you’re buying your device as a status symbol and not because it’s a good device. Unless you bought it on clearance for $.99, if you have a case like this you’re probably an Apple fanatic, and all that brings with it.

Finishing It Off

I just felt that my opinion of the iPhone warranted clarification. I don’t hate the iPhone. I hate Apple, I hate their stinking logo, and I hate the fanatical fan boys that follow them around. The device itself is fine. I’d never buy one in a hundred years, but it’s fine. It’s over-hyped and less functional than other devices in the same market, but it’s fine.

Microsoft Surface Review

Today I finally managed to get my hands on Microsoft’s newest device, the Microsoft Surface. My wife and I were wandering around our local Best Buy with no intention of buying anything, and there they were, sitting on display next to the Samsung tablets. Given the environment, there were obviously problems, but I won’t hold those against the Surface (despite the fact that the other tablets were all working fine). Here are my impressions of Microsoft’s device.

The Device Itself

Holding the device, I didn’t notice much difference in weight compared to other tablets it’s size. This isn’t a scientific measurement, I just held it. I’m sure there’s a difference, but it wasn’t really noticeable in the few minutes I played around with it. The texture of the device was nice. The design? Not so much. Microsoft decided to go the in the opposite direction from every other tablet maker on the market, and make the device kind of, well, sharp. There are unrounded edges on the device which are apparent as soon as you pick up the device. Personally, I didn’t like it as much as the rounded corners of pretty much every other tablet. I didn’t experience any physical discomfort in holding the Surface, but I only held it for 10 minutes or so. The screen was nice, and the resolution was good.

The OS

2012-12-27 14.31.34Wow, this is opening up a can of worms, but the OS is pretty much everything I expected it to be. Horrible. I’ve only had the chance to try it on a phone before, and I thought it was functional but ugly. On a tablet, it’s even less functional, but still ugly. I opened up several different applications, but the one that jarred me the most was the Office 13 Preview. Opening that app kicked me into Desktop mode immediately. To me, it was akin to reading something and having it ripped out of your hand mid-sentence and having to change your point of view to something different. I didn’t like it at all. One of the other things I noticed when I was trying it out was the picture at left. This is a minor thing, but it popped out at me. When I tried out the login, I realized that I didn’t have the password to get back in. I thought that maybe they left it blank for demonstration purposes, so I tried that. I was wrong in my guess, but when it came back to let me know that, the text didn’t even line up correctly in the box.

Dead Horse

I’m not going to keep going. I didn’t get a lot of time with the device, but in the time I did have with it, I wasn’t impressed. Not everything about the Surface was bad, and if there were no other tablets on the market anywhere (say in some alternate reality where iOS and Android didn’t exist), I’d consider it mostly functional. What I did see was that there was absolutely nothing about this device that would ever make me consider it over more well established players in the market. I mean seriously, I’d even choose an iPad over this thing and that’s saying something.

Samsung Should Withhold Technology from Apple

Samsung Should Withhold Technology from AppleIn recent days, Samsung has been showing off some pretty cool new stuff. One of these new technologies is the flexible display that they actually showed us last year (at right), but which this year will be new and improved. Of course the question came up, given the current situation between Apple and Samsung, will Samsung withhold these new technologies from Apple? My personal opinion? Samsung should withhold technology from Apple.

To Big for their Britches

Apple has spent the last couple years strutting around like they’re the cool kid on campus, suing anybody and everybody from the most minimal slight, justified or not. They’ve gone after Samsung more than any other company. The biggest irony in that is that Samsung has manufactured a great number of the components that make the iPhone/iPad work. Processors, displays, memory. Recently, Apple has attempted to get those parts from other companies, with mixed success. As it stands currently, Apple needs Samsung. Apple can’t even make their devices without Samsung.

Apple has Withheld from Samsung

It’s impossible to not note that the cases we’re currently seeing in the courts are a result of Apple pulling fairly ridiculous patents out of their bag of tricks, refusing to license those patents to 3rd parties, and then suing if there’s even a hint that those patents might be violated. Those patents include multi-touch and their rubber band patent.

Samsung has got the Goods

Samsung Should Withhold Technology from AppleThe thing about Apple suing Samsung is that it provides Samsung with very little motivation to continue to provide their technology to Apple. And why should they? I don’t think they should. I think that Samsung should withhold their technology from Apple, because quite frankly, despite the fact that Apple has somehow managed to get a reputation for being innovators, they’re not. Samsung is on the other hand. Let Apple continue to use what they’ve got, but anything that Samsung comes up with in the future is strictly off limits. Before long, the iPhone will look like this little gem to the right.

A Taste of their own Medicine

I’m anxious to see Samsung give Apple a taste of their own medicine. Some of these new technologies that Samsung is coming up with are extremely cool, and like nothing Apple has ever dreamed of. If Apple is happy to withhold technology like a rubber banding effect, then I’m all for Samsung keeping flexible displays from Apple. Give them a taste of their own medicine and watch them fade into obscurity just as relevant as Betamax.

Microsoft Screwing The Linux Foundation

A while ago, The Linux Foundation announced a plan to allow for Linux to boot on systems with Secure Boot enabled. Lately, it has come to light that Microsoft is screwing with The Linux Foundation, and not granting the key required despite the fact that The Linux Foundation has already paid for it. Oddly enough, certain Microsoft apologists still believe that this is the fault of The Linux Foundation, despite the fact that there is nothing to support that contention. Here is a list of links that disagree with that fantasy.

http://www.zdnet.com/linux-foundation-support-for-booting-linux-on-windows-8-pcs-delayed-7000007673/
http://www.muktware.com/4855/microsoft-holding-keys-linux-foundations-secure-boot-solution
http://mrpogson.com/2012/11/20/m-sabotages-uefi-secure-boot-for-linux-foundation/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/21/linux_foundation_secure_boot_fix_delays/
http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Linux-Foundation-struggles-with-Microsoft-s-Secure-Boot-signing-service-1754209.html
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Microsoft-Delays-UEFI-Workaround-for-Linux-309070.shtml
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTIzMjE
http://blog.hansenpartnership.com/adventures-in-microsoft-uefi-signing/

Of course, this won’t convince Microsoft fans. Facts seldom do.