vote

New Zealand Parliament bans software patents with a 117-4 vote

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/08/28/new-zealand-bans-software-patents/

DNP New Zealand bans software patents after a landslide vote in Parliament

After five years of debate and a 117-4 vote, New Zealand’s Parliament has passed a bill that says computer programs are not considered inventions and are therefore ineligible for patents. However, the phrasing of the bill is flexible enough to provide some leeway. Since “products or processes” are understood to be patentable inventions, software that is integral to the implementation of a process designed to improve hardware can be included in the terms of a patent application. The text of the bill, intended to replace the outdated Patents Act of 1953, states, “Protecting software by patenting is inconsistent with the open source model, and its proponents oppose it. A number of submitters argued that there is no ‘inventive step’ in software development, as ‘new’ software invariably builds on existing software.” You can come to your own conclusions on the matter by checking out the bill at the source link below.

 

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Thursday, August 29th, 2013 news No Comments

Most People Think Google Glass Is Going To Flop

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/google-glass-sales-predictions-2013-5

megyn kelly google glassTech pundits are still weighing in on Google‘s computerized glasses, Google Glass.

Assessments are all over the map.

But getting a free version of a new gadget, or being rich enough that you can plunk down $1,500 for one, is very different from actually choosing to buy one as a normal person.

And that, for any new gadget, is where the rubber meets the road.

So what’s the current consensus for future Google Glass sales?

According to a poll we ran over the weekend, the consensus is that there really isn’t a consensus. The assessments, again, are all over the map.

If there is a bias, though, it’s to the negative. More people think Google Glass is going to flop that think it’s going to be a runaway hit.

Specifically, more than a quarter of people expect Google to sell less than a million units of Glass (or equivalent) in three years.

More than half expect Google to sell less than 8 million units a year.

Given the early excitement around the technology, both of those outcomes would be considered a flop.

Meanwhile, 14% of people think Google will sell more than 80 million units a year in three years.

That sales level would be a massive home run.

Here are the current results of the poll.  You can cast your own vote here.

Google Glass sales poll

 

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Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5891696/the-united-states-congress-is-laughably-and-horrifyingly-vulnerable-to-user-error

The United States Congress Is Laughably (And Horrifyingly) Vulnerable to User ErrorUS Congresswoman Lois Capps found out the hard-and-super-embarrassing way that the House of Representatives doesn’t allow take-backs. Capps was the only person in congress to vote against championing the release of a Christian minister in Iran—a bill she co-sponsored—because she pressed the wrong button during the vote. And then wasn’t allowed to fix it.

It’s hard to feel too too bad for Rep. Capps, since you should probably be paying attention during a vote on a bill you co-sponsored. But shouldn’t we maybe install some sort of ARE YOU SURE mechanism to the decisions our national leaders make? [The Tribune via The Daily What]

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Friday, March 9th, 2012 news No Comments

Here Are The Winners And Losers

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/super-bowl-ads-2012-here-are-the-winners-and-losers-2012-2


clint eastwood

There’s fascinating disconnect between which advertisers the media thinks did well on last night’s Super Bowl and what the research says was effective.

To hear the business press tell it, Clint Eastwood’s “Halftime in America” spot rocked the house. It was indeed a great spot from a creative point of view.

But it didn’t even show up in the Ace Metrix Top 10. Ace Metrix measures a panel of 500 consumers who watch ads and rate them for effectiveness. That research says Doritos’ sling baby ad won the night.

It was also a big night for dogs. Volkswagen’s much anticipated follow-up to its little Darth Vader spot from last year used an obese dog getting in shape to gets its revenge on a VW it wanted to chase down the street (and then somehow ended up in the Star Wars cantina scene).

Skechers used a dog — Mr. Quiggly — in a greyhound race.

As did Bud Light, whose appeal with Weego, a rescue dog, was heartwarming.

So did Doritos, in another comedic appeal revolving around the whole Dogs v. Cats war.

There weren’t any total disasters — last year both Groupon and HomeAway had to apologize for their ads — but there were some failures in the sense that clients ads bored people or went unnoticed.

Chase ran an ad that for the life of me I can’t recall even though I am paid to remember these things. And TaxACT’s ad, featuring a kid who urinates in a swmming pool, was disgusting.

Later today — much later — we’ll take a look at how B.I.’s readers judged the ads with the results of our Super Bowl ad readers’ poll. Vote early, and often!

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 news No Comments

SOPA and PIPA Have Been Pulled (For Now) [Sopa]

Source: http://lifehacker.com/5877993/sopa-and-pipa-have-been-pulled-for-now

SOPA and PIPA Have Been Pulled (For Now)After Wednesday’s all-day protest of SOPA and PIPA, the bills that want to censor your internet, both bills have been shelved for further consideration, and will not be voted on as scheduled. Rep. Lamar Smith, the sponsor of SOPA, said he’s still committed to fighting piracy, but that this legislation isn’t the way to do it:

I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.

The Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.

We’re hesitant to say the bill is “dead”, but after the events of this week it’s unlikely we’ll see SOPA and PIPA come to a vote in their current form. This probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of anti-piracy legislation, of course, and future bills could be just as dangerous. There are still things you can do to help, and while this is a victory, it isn’t a permanent one, so we wouldn’t get too comfortable just yet. Hit the link to read more.

Photo by Aspect3D (Shutterstock).

Statement from Chairman Smith on Senate Delay of Vote on PROTECT IP Act | US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary via Ars Technica


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Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

What Is SOPA? [Sopa]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5877000/what-is-sopa

What Is SOPA?If you hadn’t heard of SOPA before, you probably have by now: Some of the internet’s most influential sites—Reddit and Wikipedia among them—are going dark to protest the much-maligned anti-piracy bill. But other than being a very bad thing, what is SOPA? And what will it mean for you if it passes?

SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress…

House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith, along with 12 co-sponsors, introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act on October 26th of last year. Debate on H.R. 3261, as it’s formally known, has consisted of one hearing on November 16th and a “mark-up period” on December 15th, which was designed to make the bill more agreeable to both parties. Its counterpart in the Senate is the Protect IP Act (S. 968). Also known by it’s cuter-but-still-deadly name: PIPA. There will likely be a vote on PIPA next Wednesday; SOPA discussions had been placed on hold but will resume in February of this year.

…that would grant content creators extraordinary power over the internet…

The beating heart of SOPA is the ability of intellectual property owners (read: movie studios and record labels) to effectively pull the plug on foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site’s ISP prevent people from even going there.

…which would go almost comedically unchecked…

Perhaps the most galling thing about SOPA in its original construction is that it let IP owners take these actions without a single court appearance or judicial sign-off. All it required was a single letter claiming a “good faith belief” that the target site has infringed on its content. Once Google or PayPal or whoever received the quarantine notice, they would have five days to either abide or to challenge the claim in court. Rights holders still have the power to request that kind of blockade, but in the most recent version of the bill the five day window has softened, and companies now would need the court’s permission.

The language in SOPA implies that it’s aimed squarely at foreign offenders; that’s why it focuses on cutting off sources of funding and traffic (generally US-based) rather than directly attacking a targeted site (which is outside of US legal jurisdiction) directly. But that’s just part of it.

…to the point of potentially creating an “Internet Blacklist”…

Here’s the other thing: Payment processors or content providers like Visa or YouTube don’t even need a letter shut off a site’s resources. The bill’s “vigilante” provision gives broad immunity to any provider who proactively shutters sites it considers to be infringers. Which means the MPAA just needs to publicize one list of infringing sites to get those sites blacklisted from the internet.

Potential for abuse is rampant. As Public Knowledge points out, Google could easily take it upon itself to delist every viral video site on the internet with a “good faith belief” that they’re hosting copyrighted material. Leaving YouTube as the only major video portal. Comcast (an ISP) owns NBC (a content provider). Think they might have an interest in shuttering some rival domains? Under SOPA, they can do it without even asking for permission.

…while exacting a huge cost from nearly every site you use daily…

SOPA also includes an “anti-circumvention” clause, which holds that telling people how to work around SOPA is nearly as bad as violating its main provisions. In other words: if your status update links to The Pirate Bay, Facebook would be legally obligated to remove it. Ditto tweets, YouTube videos, Tumblr or WordPress posts, or sites indexed by Google. And if Google, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, etc. let it stand? They face a government “enjoinment.” They could and would be shut down.

The resources it would take to self-police are monumental for established companies, and unattainable for start-ups. SOPA would censor every online social outlet you have, and prevent new ones from emerging.

…and potentially disappearing your entire digital life…

The party line on SOPA is that it only affects seedy off-shore torrent sites. That’s false. As the big legal brains at Bricoleur point out, the potential collateral damage is huge. And it’s you. Because while Facebook and Twitter have the financial wherewithal to stave off anti-circumvention shut down notices, the smaller sites you use to store your photos, your videos, and your thoughts may not. If the government decides any part of that site infringes on copyright and proves it in court? Poof. Your digital life is gone, and you can’t get it back.

…while still managing to be both unnecessary and ineffective…

What’s saddest about SOPA is that it’s pointless on two fronts. In the US, the MPAA, and RIAA already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to request that infringing material be taken down. We’ve all seen enough “video removed” messages to know that it works just fine.

As for the foreign operators, you might as well be throwing darts at a tse-tse fly. The poster child of overseas torrenting, Pirate Bay, has made it perfectly clear that they’re not frightened in the least. And why should they be? Its proprietors have successfully evaded any technological attempt to shut them down so far. Its advertising partners aren’t US-based, so they can’t be choked out. But more important than Pirate Bay itself is the idea of Pirate Bay, and the hundreds or thousands of sites like it, as populous and resilient as mushrooms in a marsh. Forget the question of should SOPA succeed. It’s incredibly unlikely that it could. At least at its stated goals.

…but stands a shockingly good chance of passing…

SOPA is, objectively, an unfeasible trainwreck of a bill, one that willfully misunderstands the nature of the internet and portends huge financial and cultural losses. The White House has come out strongly against it. As have hundreds of venture capitalists and dozens of the men and women who helped build the internet in the first place. In spite of all this, it remains popular in the House of Representatives.

That mark-up period on December 15th, the one that was supposed to transform the bill into something more manageable? Useless. Twenty sanity-fueled amendments were flat-out rejected. And while the bill’s most controversial provision—mandatory DNS filtering—was thankfully taken off the table recently, in practice internet providers would almost certainly still use DNS as a tool to shut an accused site down.

…unless we do something about it.

The momentum behind the anti-SOPA movement has been slow to build, but we’re finally at a saturation point. Wikipedia, BoingBoing, WordPress, TwitPic: they’ll all be dark on January 18th. An anti-SOPA rally has been planned for tomorrow afternoon in New York. The list of companies supporting SOPA is long but shrinking, thanks in no small part to the emails and phone calls they’ve received in the last few months.

So keep calling. Keep emailing. Most of all, keep making it known that the internet was built on the same principles of freedom that this country was. It should be afforded to the same rights.


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Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 news No Comments

There’s Only One Way To Make A Ton Of Money And Be Happy Selling Your Start Up

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/theres-only-one-way-to-male-a-ton-of-money-selling-your-start-up-2012-1


Venture Capital Ad

There is a common belief that venture capital has become a necessity to get start-ups off the ground.

The seemingly endless flow of funds is very appealing to the up-and-coming company looking to sling-shot themselves to instant growth.

While VC funding can give an important vote of confidence and is absolutely necessary for large infrastructure projects, there’s another side to VC funding— it can actually become a huge hindrance. As I’ve discussed before, skipping venture capital can leave your company with the freedom to grow in a sustainable way, creating more value for all stakeholders.

This means when you do sell – as my company AdoTube did recently— you are able to reap all the rewards of selling a healthy profitable company while being a big part of its future. Read below for the 5 reasons why skipping the VC can leave you with more money and probably more importantly a better company legacy.

1.       VCs just want their return

Venture capitalists have a portfolio of investments consisting of multiple start-ups, and therefore only care about average portfolio results. On the other hand, founders have all their eggs in one basket. Not only is this company their brainchild, but it is also their savings on the line. While founders are interested in the eventual payout, providing a product or service that consumers are excited about can be even more important. This focus on the long-term can lead to a greater eventual pay-out as well as a better company legacy.

2.       It’s easy to waste VC money, diminishing overall value

It is easy to overspend when it is not your money. When a small company comes across millions of venture capital, a lot of that cash can get thrown out with the bath water. Keeping the company small and growing it with your own sweat, blood and hard earned cash can lead you to be thriftier in your decisions. When AdoTube started, we made sure every purchase would earn us back revenue, otherwise why waste the money? Ultimately, this allowed us more value for our investment and helped us get a better return.

3.       VCs go big or go bust

Multiple rounds of VC can put founders in a situation where the company either becomes extremely successful or goes bust. Venture Capitalists’ are looking for the big payday, and if the instant pay-out is not immediately apparent, the company can come to a screeching halt. Founders, on the other hand, can take their time building the company up growing it organically. Without venture capitalists looking for their end return, there is still a lot of middle ground available to time a company’s growth spurt with the market.

4.       VCs don’t care about company culture

VCs aren’t incentivized to make deals that are best for the company and the founders. They are incentivized to sell for the most money. The problem is that while every founder dreams of retiring to the Caribbean after they sell, the reality is that their role with the company is often far from over. Founders are often needed to stay on board to steer transitions or integrations are also often the best person to run the newly acquired company. Culture is paramount in making sure all of this happens smoothly and benefits everyone.

5.       VCs don’t know what’s best for the company

Venture Capitalists don’t understand your business like you do. They study revenues and look for synergies with other companies. VCs can even value companies differently depending on how they might merge with another. Valuing a company based on this can take away from the goals of founders, forcing companies to work more like a widget factory than a company. A simple sale could also mean the instant death of your company, destroying all the value that you created (just talk with the guys at Foursquare). While the VCs walk away with a pay-day the company that you spent years creating is gone in an instant.

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Thursday, January 12th, 2012 news No Comments

San Francisco To Save Its Residents From The Yellow Pages

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5802560/san-francisco-to-save-its-residents-from-the-yellow-pages

San Francisco to Save Its Residents From the Yellow PagesIn this digital age, isn’t the phone book a paperweight that nobody uses? San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors must agree as they are passing legislation that stops the phone company from spamming your doorstep with the Yellow Pages.

Right now, every San Francisco resident gets a phone book and the telco hands out more than 1.6 million directories each year in the city alone. If you stacked these bulky books, they would extend to over eight times the height of Mount Everest. What a colossal waste of resources.

This Yellow Pages bill has to pass one more vote before it takes effect, but if it is approved, the phone company must confirm that you want the Yellow Pages before they deliver one you. An outreach program will make sure older and non-tech savvy residents still get the book, but everyone else will be Yellow Pages free. [Good]

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Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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