NeXT, give Steve a little credit for the Web

October 8th, 2011

The news reports and tributes following Steve Jobs’ passing this week have been dramatic, both in quantity and in degree of regard and respect. Today in the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Jobs: The Secular Prophet there is an extreme example, with allusion to Socrates, the Buddha and Emerson, and comparison with Martin Luther King Jr.

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msg 2 Sprint: “Everything” means “EVERYTHING”

February 28th, 2011

Sprint has an “Everything Data” plan that is widely touted on TV, on and in paper media. “Our Everything Data plans give you unlimited data, …”

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U.S. Patent 6,212,547 — It’s not over ’til it’s over, but …

February 2nd, 2011

maybe it IS over?

I first encountered the ‘547 patent, “UTP based video and data conferencing” in 2004, when Avistar was challenging Polycom, and I asserted then that ‘547 should not have been granted. Three years ago, Microsoft filed for ex parte re-examination of ‘547. I speculated that ‘547 would not survive re-examination.

Last week, the U.S. PTO Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences issued a decision on appeal, affirming in part the examiner’s final rejection of all claims of ‘547.

Intellectual Ventures can appeal further, but maybe they will not.

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Definitely better than being there — IMTC annual meeting over the Internet

November 3rd, 2010

The International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium is “a global consortium of companies dedicated to the advancement of open standards and multi media communications through our Activity Group initiatives and annual events that include interoperability forums and workshops.” I was a vice-president of IMTC in 1995-6, after the merger of IMTC and the Personal Conferencing Work Group.

In 1996 I, when I was last active in IMTC, I participated in board meetings in Munich and London and the annual meeting in Boston. This time I participated in the IMTC annual meeting mostly from my home office, but also while driving, running errands.

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“When will they ever learn?”

October 14th, 2010

I’ve had the privilege of playing music with a few famous musicians, mostly before they achieved their full public prominence, e.g., playing bass with Jimmie Vaughan a couple of times in small clubs in Austin. Perhaps the most notable of these opportunities was impromptu playing harmonica with Pete Seeger, sitting in the grass at a Clearwater Festival in 1976, a time of his full prominence. Seeger’s most famous composition, Where Have All The Flowers Gone?, ends each chorus with the refrain “When will they ever learn?”

Though the song is about more substantive issues than interoperability of video calling solutions, that refrain comes to mind when thinking about all of the isolated islands of video calling solutions that seem to be proliferating instead of reconciling.

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