I’m sure many of you have heard that Samsung lost a patent infringement suit in California Patent Court earlier this week. Yes, we may be paying more for smart phones for a short while. Yes, Samsung may have overstepped “taking design inspirations” from the iPhone. Yes, this may have a ripple effect on all the other patent suits that are pending between the giant technology companies. But all of this is nothing new.
As nearly everyone that has been in the tech industry knows, everything is “stolen” from someone else. Apple “stole” their user interface from technology developed by Xerox in their PARC research lab. But Xerox couldn’t figure out how to sell that technology. Microsoft was “inspired” by the Apple user interface and developed Windows™.
Back when I was in software development, I used to say that there was no such thing as an original program. Every program was copied something from somewhere else and then stuff was added to the original. I’m sure that even the “first” program was just a set of instructions that was translated to something a machine could do.
Innovation should be rewarded. But now, companies claim innovation and pay lawyers to prevent anyone from saying it isn’t. I have a friend that was awarded several patents for things he did when working in the telecommunication industry. He told me that he didn’t think what he had done was anything really special, but the lawyers made it look special so they could stop anyone else from coming up with the same answer when confronted with the same problem.
I cannot really see that a rectangular shape for a phone is patentable. Many phones before the iPhone were basically a rectangular shape. The dimensions of the rectangle of a phone or proportions between the dimensions are probably more a function of human ergonomics and technical requirements. Are ergonomics now patentable? Are companies going to sue people because a shape feels comfortable and they make something in that shape?
In the technical world, innovation really comes from using something you learn (so someone else did it first) for something different than what it was originally intended. Or taking something that already is and finding a way to automate it. If this infringes on patent law, then patent law needs to be changed.
I’m not really one to push donations for charities, for that matter I don’t like doing collections! But when I received the call from MDA to join their Lockup fund raiser to support MDA Summer Camp, I decided that this was one time I could reach out to ask others to donate their hard earned money.
MDA Summer Camp holds a special place in my wife’s and my heart. For those of you that don’t know, I had three brother-in-laws with Muscular Dystrophy. I never knew them not to be quadriplegics resigned to live life in a wheelchair. The” boys” would come back a haunt me if I made this into a “feel sorry for them” piece. So let me just say that high point of every year for them was the MDA summer camp.
Jeff and Kevin Brinkman
MDA Summer Camp gives both the families and those stricken with the disease a chance to have a “normal” life for a week each year. The campers get to have a week away from their families and to have as normal a camp experience as they are able. Think about what it takes to take a person in a 500 pound wheelchair out on a boat to go fishing. Then have to do everything for that person because they don’t have the ability to do it themselves. That is what MDA does for the campers. The aides that work MDA camp are really dedicated to their charges. Two aides once flew to Florida on their own dime to drive one of my brother-in-laws (one was in the hospital at the time and the other had died) from Tampa Florida back to Chicago for “Adult” camp (most those stricken with the disease never live to adulthood). Back then, Chicago was the only location in the country that ran an Adult camp, now there are none.
For the families, they get a week where they do not have to plan their lives around doing for someone that can’t do for themselves. This gives them a chance to live like you and I do on a daily basis for just a short time.
I need your help to reach my bail! The MDA Lock-Up takes place on 09/26/2012, but I’m raising my bail before I go to jail! All you have to do is click here to make a secure, online donation today. Your support will help families living in our community with muscle disease, and help guarantee that I get out of jail. I will be sure to add you to my list of contributors.
Please support me in this important goal by visiting my fundraising page and making a contribution. Your tax-deductible donation makes a difference to the hundreds of kids, adults and their families who live right here in our local community.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Now that the Olympic Games are over, I think congratulations should go out to all the five hundred and some odd US athletes that competed in the games. Having relatives that could have gone to that level in their prime, but choose to study more than train, I have an idea of the sacrifices those that qualified to compete in the games have made.
And also congratulations to the City of London for pulling off a spectacle and event of that level without any of the major problems that were predicted by the nay-Sayers before the games started.
As we in our daily lives discover, those that look the best have done the most work in the shadows, the background, out of sight. That’s why a lot of times your IT consultant will recommend something you have never heard of to resolve a concern. Many times the names you have heard in the IT world are focused on things you, as a small business, are not concerned with. They may have a product, for example in anti-malware, that you have heard of for years, but their focus is on the enterprise market and not the small business.
What are the ramifications of the difference in focus? Typically it is the resources that are required to run the given application or service. Although this is changing as businesses grow and technology gets less expensive, multiple single application servers are not the norm in the small business environment. So, even in a world of virtualization, single servers for a given application may be out of reach.
That is why an IT consultant that specializes in small business is the best choice for a small business. They spend the time with the unknown vendors to find the right application for their clients. These applications may not work in the enterprise world, but are a best fit for the small business world. In many cases, these consultants will go out of their way to find a solution that may not pay them as much, but is the right solution for the client.
||Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform.”
–Susan B. Anthony,
On the 5th of July, a day usually used by politicians to hide bad news, Microsoft announced the end of the Small Business Server (SBS). In its place, Microsoft presented a “lite” version of their Windows Server product that included the very popular Remote Web Access feature. But there would no longer be a bundled package including Exchange and Sharepoint.
Over the last month, many things have been said and written about the Microsoft decision. Complaints have been made that Microsoft has turned their back on many of the larger businesses that were using SBS. But the truth of the matter is that SBS is a complex environment and always has. I would suspect that the support costs of the product were much higher than most of Microsoft’s product line. After all, to be a true expert in SBS, you had to be an expert in the server operating system, active directory, Exchange and Sharepoint. Most IT professionals working in larger businesses would specialize in one of those products, but not all of them. I remember being approached by a senior level support person from a national IT firm and being told “We install and support SBS. But we don’t install the Exchange or Sharepoint components because they are too complex for small business.”
Microsoft has cited the movement of email and file support to the cloud as one of the main reasons for the change. I suspect that is true for a lot of reasons. One that I have not seen mentioned is the change in perspective of the newer generations starting their own or taking over businesses. These generations have been the leaders in the move to smart phones, tablets, and always being connected. They don’t remember dial-up and a complete lack of inter-network capability.
This blog sounds like the regret at the end of an era. But it is not. It is an honest view of the facts and the understanding that an era has changed.
I’m not sure what the new era is going to be like, but it will be different. What I will point out is how the new era is based on what was done in the old era and what lessons were learned then. From my perspective of computing, what is new was old. It is just polished to look more shiny.