Archive for April, 2011

Amazon Uses Steve Jobs’ Own Words in Defense to Apple Lawsuit

April 28, 2011

It appears there are additional depositions in Steve Job’s future.  If a company’s CEO is using its “trademark” term in a generic way, doesn’t that weaken its exclusivity and make it easier for a court to find that it is available for other companies to use?

Amazon.com today responded in court to Apple’s lawsuit over the name of its Android Appstore — calling the iPhone maker’s claim to the “App Store” trademark baseless, and pointing to a statement from Apple CEO Steve Jobs as one piece of evidence in its favor.

The Seattle-based online retailer asked a federal judge in San Francisco to throw out Apple’s trademark suit, calling the phrase “app store” generic and not something that Apple can claim for its exclusive use. Amazon’s filing echoed Microsoft’s arguments in a separate dispute at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office opposing Apple’s attempt to register the trademark.

In the filing (PDF, 10 pages), Amazon points in part to comments by Steve Jobs last fall. Speaking on Apple’s quarterly conference call, Jobs referred repeatedly to “app stores,” in a generic sense, while criticizing the fragmentation of Google’s Android platform.

So there will be at least four app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will need to work with to distribute their apps and get paid. This is going to be a mess for both users and developers. Contrast this with Apple’s integrated App Store, which offers users the easiest-to-use largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone.”

Since filing the lawsuit against Amazon, Apple has asked the court to move on an accelerated schedule to impose a preliminary injunction barring Amazon from using the Appstore name. The court has yet to rule on that request, which Amazon opposes.

From: Geekwire

Google Docs gets an Android app, lets you capture text with your phone’s camera

April 27, 2011

Google’s had a mobile-friendly version of Google Docs available for some time now, but it’s now finally gone the extra step and released a dedicated Android app. That will of course let you access and edit your documents on your smartphone, but the real standout feature is the ability to capture text with your phone’s camera and have it instantly made editable thanks to some optical character recognition. Google notes that won’t work with handwriting or some fonts, but it promises it will get better over time.

From: Engadget

Here is the android market link to install it.

Newspapers Fight To Keep Government “Notices”

April 26, 2011

Interesting article about several states reconsidering whether to continue requiring public notices to be published in a newspaper.  This could also affect how public notice of lawsuits is given. It discuss how newspapers are advocating that governments (state and local) keep advertising their notices via newspaper versus providing the information on a government website.  The question should perhaps be, which one is likely to reach the most people and has the newspaper lost its role as the medium best suited to give “notice”.

Click to read the rest on Business Insider

Grooveshark Pens an Angry Open Letter to the Music Industry (cc’s Google, Apple)

April 19, 2011

Interesting tactic from a online music sharing company.

The peer-to-peer music streaming service Grooveshark has had a series of run-ins with mobile providers. Its iOS app was pulled from the App Store in August of last year, and its Android app was booted from the Android Marketplace earlier this month.

The company has now fired back at the music industry and at Apple and Google, contending there’s nothing illegal about its app.

Continue reading at:Grooveshark Pens an Angry Open Letter to the Music Industry (cc’s Google, Apple).

Six Law School Deans Form a Discussion Group on Ways to Collaborate on More Effective Use of Technology in Legal Education

April 19, 2011

Press release from PRWeb

The deans of the Australian National University College of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, the University of Miami School of Law, New York Law School, the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, and Southwestern Law School have agreed to begin a joint conversation on how law schools can collaborate to use technology more effectively and expansively in legal education.

Recognizing that the study of law, like many other aspects of education (and modern life in general), is relying more on technology and moving online, and is subject to being disaggregated and unbundled at a rapid pace, the discussion group will focus on the following issues and ideas:

  •     how the law schools might work together to explore ways to facilitate blended and online courses and degree programs at these schools and more broadly in legal education.
  •     the prospect of developing a place on the Web to provide access to learning opportunities and information about a wide variety of legal topics on a “just in time” basis (fixed learning, variable time), untethered from legal education’s restrictions around academic calendar and course/program arrangements (fixed time, variable learning).
  •     creating a marketplace to bring together those who want to build and sell even finer-grained sets of learning objects, activities, and games with students and others who want those opportunities.

E-book sales grow over 200% year-over-year, print books decline in every category

April 16, 2011

Textbook publishers are you listening?  Please get on the bandwagon before I am out of school.  That basically means you need to do it now.

From the Association of American Publishers Press Release:

E-Books Rank as #1 Format among All Trade Categories for the Month

April 14, 2011; New York, NY– Powerful continuing growth of books on digital platforms–both e-Books and Downloaded Audiobooks–are highlights of the February 2011 sales report of the Association of American Publishers, which is being released today.

The report, produced by the trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry, tracks monthly and year-to-date publishers’ net sales revenue in all categories of commercial, education, professional and scholarly books and journals.

According to the February results, once again e-Books have enjoyed triple-digit percentage growth, 202.3%, vs February 2010. Downloaded Audiobooks, which have also seen consistent monthly gains, increased 36.7% vs last February.

For February 2011, e-Books ranked as the #1 format among all categories of Trade publishing (Adult Hardcover, Adult Paperback, Adult Mass Market, Children’s/Young Adult Hardcover, Children’s/Young Adult Paperback).

This one-month surge is primarily attributed to a high level of strong post-holiday e-Book buying, or “loading,” by consumers who received e-Reader devices as gifts. Experts note that the expanded selection of e-Readers introduced for the holidays and the broader availability of titles are factors.

Additionally, Trade publishing houses cite e-Books as generating fresh consumer interest in–and new revenue streams for–“backlist” titles, books that have been in print for at least a year. Many publishers report that e-Book readers who enjoy a newly-released book will frequently buy an author’s full backlist.

For the year to date (January/February 2011 vs January/February 2010), which encompasses this heavy post-holiday buying period, e-Books grew 169.4% to $164.1M while the combined categories of print books fell 24.8% to $441.7M.*

According to Tom Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer of AAP, “The February results reflect two core facts: people love books and publishers actively serve readers wherever they are. The public is embracing the breadth and variety of reading choices available to them. They have made e-Books permanent additions to their lifestyle while maintaining interest in print format books.”

Allen added that book publishers have been leaders among content providers in identifying and serving new audiences. “Publishers have always strategically expanded into all the markets and formats where readers want to find books, whether it was Trade Paperback, Mass Market or now digital. By extending their work as developers, producers and marketers of high-quality content to emerging technologies, publishers are constantly redefining the timeless concept of ‘books.’”

Other highlights in the February 2011 report (all February 2011 vs February 2010 unless otherwise noted):

Digital categories:
E-Book sales were $90.3 Million, growing 202.3% vs February 2010. Downloaded Audiobooks were $6.9M, an increase of 36.7%.

Trade categories:
Adult Trade categories combined (Hardcover, Paperback and Mass Market) were $156.8M, down 34.4%. Children’s/Young Adult categories combined (Hardcover and Paperback) were $58.5M, a decline of 16.1%

*Year-to-date 2011 vs YTD 2010: E-Books increased by 169.4% while all categories combined of print Trade books declined by 24.8%

Religious books:
February sales of $48.5M were an increase of 5.5%; this reflects growth as well in the category for year-to-date, up 6.1% to $93.9M.

Education categories:
Higher Education sales for YTD (January and February 2011) were $406.9M, down slightly by 5.6% vs YTD 2010. In K-12, YTD sales were $173M, declining 8.9% from 2010.

Professional/Scholarly categories:
Total sales for professional books and journals were $42.9M, a slight drop of 3.6% vs February 2010. Combined sales of University Press (hardcover and paperback) were $6.7M, falling 6% vs last year.

The AAP monthly and year-end sales report represents data provided by 84 U.S. publishing houses representing major commercial, education, professional, scholarly and independents. Data on e-Books comes from 16 houses. The report does not include all book and journal net sales but provides what’s acknowledged as the best industry snapshot currently available.

Principal Surprises Students by Showing Their Social Media Shots at Assembly

April 12, 2011

High school students in Old Saybrook, Conn., were not happy when their various Facebook photos and status updates were displayed at a freshman school assembly. But administrators say the presentation was meant to teach students a lesson about Internet safety, specifically privacy settings. Many students were upset that the school didn’t ask for permission before showing their information, which a school resource counselor pulled from Twitter and Tumblr. “I just think it’s a violation of privacy,” a junior at the school told the New Haven Register. Oliver Barton, principal of Old Saybrook High School, said that the assembly was meant to show students how public their tweets, online profiles and photos are if their privacy settings aren’t strict enough. He didn’t think the pictures shown would embarrass anyone, he told the paper, and the pictures in question were publicly accessible. About 20 photos were assembled by…

via High School’s Internet Safety Lesson Riles Students Upset That Info Was Shared at Assembly – News – ABA Journal.

Camera Scans of Car Plates Are Reshaping Police Inquiries

April 12, 2011

From the NY Times: License plate readers, once used primarily in counterterrorism, have been transforming how the Police Department conducts traditional investigations. 

“We knew going into it that they would have other obvious benefits,” Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman. said about the use of the readers in the initiative. “Obviously, conventional crime is far more common than terrorism, so it is not surprising that they would have benefits, more frequently, in conventional crime fighting than in terrorism.”

——–

It will be interesting to follow the privacy implications of this. Is this any different that what an officer can observe standing in the same location as the camera with the naked eye?  The article goes on to list several car thefts and other crimes where the perpetrator was caught through the use of this technology.  As the number of people in our cities increases and budgetary pressures force law enforcement to do more with less, I think the use of technology will expand to fill the gap. Long gone are the days where the local officer knew everyone on his beat.

But  perhaps the more interesting question, is what access can people other than law enforcement get to the database of information?  Can it be subpoenaed for use in a divorce case, say to track someone’s coming and goings?

More support for use of a stylus in tablet computing

April 11, 2011

This article from Engadget seems to mirror what I have been saying about mixing the benefits of touch and stylus (pen) computing.  Touch is great for ease of use and navigating, but does not match a stylus ability for precision writing versus typing. Excerpt below:

 

Few would want to return to those days of stylus-driven interfaces, but styli can still be helpful for a number of tasks, including diagramming, drawing and sketching, signing documents and handwriting recognition. In this regard, their status has become similar to keyboards on capacitive-touch devices — great when you need them, but a form factor compromise when you don’t. So, just as the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer works with an optional keyboard, HTC will make its Scribe pen an extra, taking a tentative step toward bringing back the stylus, though not a half-hearted one — the company allows one to write anywhere in the Sense user interface, supporting the stylus input method with the backing of software.

 

Click here to read the rest on Engadget

Intel Capital, Condé Nast Owner Invest $30 Million in Kno; Intel Licenses Student Tablet Hardware Design

April 8, 2011

According to the article linked below, Kno is out of the hardware business. I hope this is a positive thing, and allows Know to focus on the software and encourage the “heavy hitters’ in the tablet space to make tablets which support both, “finger based” and stylus input, which should expand the business practically of tablets.

——————-

Intel Capital, Condé Nast Owner Invest $30 Million in Kno; Intel Licenses Student Tablet Hardware Design.

According to sources close to the situation, Intel Capital and Advance Publications will lead a $30 million investment round in Kno, the high-profile student tablet start-up.

In addition to the funding from its venture capital arm, Intel itself will license the hardware design of Kno, which will now focus on its software to manage the devices that are aimed at the college market.

Intel will not manufacture tablets, but take its hardware blueprints and share it with their OEM partners.

Kno is now officially out of the hardware business.


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