Tech Talk for August 2012

Round ‘em up, roll ‘em out.

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I actually had several articles planned to cover the content in this one, but inspired by my recent guest spot on Unleash the Video I decided to roll them into one nice package of my takes and spare you more of the relentless canned rehash.

Let’s call it Unleash the Rat.  Buckle up!

First, don’t be evil

Google spent the month mostly avoiding the radar.  Samsung is taking the bullet for not just its hardware transgressions but also general Android emulation of Apple product look-and-feel.  Google’s gotta love it– unless the first major lawsuit is just water-testing by Apple.  Next: courtroom water-boarding?  We’ll see (more on the Apple-Samsung suit below).

But then there’s this from Mashable on a major Google ad policy change.

Can we expect the famous Google home page white space to someday cede to a page of (more) color?  And by color I mean advertisements.  And by advertisements I mean Do Not Want.

Second, don’t be Twitter

My favorite channel for stream-of-conscious effluvium made more moves to distance itself from the developer community that helped make it great.  While Twitter is busy cutting off its Pinocchio nose to spite its shameless face, the Internet is now getting busy trying to make it irrelevant.  A daunting task, to be sure, but remember: once there was no Twitter, and Internet user love lives on Internet life-cycles.

Personally all I need is web-borne SMS.  Several people pointed me to status.net when I mentioned that (on Twitter, natch) and so item #167 on my to-do list is to check into that service more.  At first glance I was put off by the fact that status.net defaults you into a private bucket, but after complaining I was firmly informed that I just need to take some time to RTFM.

Fine.  If it means finding a less evil, more virginal Twitter, I’ll do it.  But will anyone else?

Maybe if Twitter gets worse

Diaspora founders embark on… diaspora

Speaking of alternate Internet social outlets that may or may not unseat their rivals, we had a couple of developments involving Diaspora.  Founders of the distributed geek engagement service are firing up a new venture, the Makr.io meme generator (which, as I write this, is nothing more than a blank page with a single word: sloth.  Weird.).  So they’ve tossed Diaspora’s reigns over to its community.  This should be fun.

I really, really want an alternative to Facebook.  One that people use.  So far it isn’t Diaspora, nor is it Nokia Pulse but it’s slooowly getting there with Google Plus.  Some day Search may take a distant backseat to Google’s other services.  Will we finally binge on Bing instead?

Maybe in an alternate universe.

Apple-Samsung shootout

I know you were hoping I would get to this one.  I stumbled a bit when discussing it on Unleash the Video, so let me be perfectly clear:

This sucks.

I disagree with the decision for a few reasons but to first illustrate what a travesty some post-verdict media analysis is, allow me to introduce Exhibit A: a highly disingenuous, Apple-licking opinion piece by Jesus Diaz on Gizmodo.  I quote:

Don’t listen to the obtuse apologists and the blind fandroids of the me-too—this is great news for consumers and technology because it’s the End of the iPhone Era.

Pure fanboy slathering.  This stinks for consumers because it doesn’t end here; Samsung will appeal all the way up.  And ultimately, the US Supreme Court will have to render a decision that either screws us all (i.e., upholding current patent process bastardization) or frees TRUE innovation (by restoring patent sanity).  Meanwhile, what a mess.  For everyone.

But let me add some additional context to the article.  Remember who Jesus Diaz is?  That’s right: the iPhone payola-for-prototype guy.

One reader posted after the article above that Diaz has been angling to get back in Apple’s good graces ever since he angered Steve Jobs.  You be the judge.

The good news is, some media pundits Get It.

Anyway, here’s where the first-round Apple-Samsung decision utterly, totally, despicably fails, as FindLaw.com explains very clearly:

In order for a patent claim to be valid, it must propose a concept, idea, or item that is “useful,” “novel,” and “nonobvious”.

Sorry, Apple fanatics, rounding the corners on a pocketable object is obvious.  While we’re at it, so are misguidedly-protected UX and UI elements.  I love Amazon, but I blame their absurd one-click purchase patent for this mess.  Apple is just benefiting from that sorry legacy and seeking vindication over lost GUI lawsuits.

Please, Samsung: take this one all the way to the Supreme Court.  And pray they get it right.

MicroNokia News

No new lawsuit here, even after Lumia owners got stuck as ironic Microsoft beta testersAftermath analysis of the Apple-Samsung debacle points to interesting potential winners other than the Big Fruit Phone Factory.  The Monday after the verdict, Nokia’s stock took a flying leap– and in a rare upward direction.  Tuesday, though, it sobered right back up.  I mean down.  And yes, I paid dearly to get on this ride.

Still, depending on what moves Google and Samsung take next, Windows Phone may very well see some benefit from the lawsuit fallout.  Wait and see.

Wrap-up

Okay, that’s all.  Should we do this again next month?

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Editor-in-Chief. Making tech accessible since the Jurassic. Personal ramblings at texrat.net. Follow @texrat on Twitter.

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  • http://post404.com/ Randall “texrat” Arnold

    After re-reading what I wrote, it comes across a bit snarkier and more aggressive than I wanted. I’ll tone it down in future efforts.