Technology and Patents: It’s like asking if the murderer was guilty

iPhone 4SGalaxy Nexus - Android Phone

From Ars Technica: If Android is a “stolen product,” then so was the iPhone

Unfortunately, in the last 20 years, the courts have made it much easier to acquire software patents. Apple now has more powerful legal weapons at its disposal this time around, as do its competitors. Together, there’s a real danger that the smartphone wars will end by stifling competition.

It’s my opinion that these arguments are pretty much moot at this point. It’s like asking if the murderer was guilty or not, when the verdict itself is only very slim veil over the truth: you don’t need to prove guilt or innocence, you only need to prove or disprove reasonable doubt. How the heck do us folks keep forgetting that? Do you think there will be any sweeping changes in our western justice systems that will cause us to change to a guilt based system instead of a doubt based system? No.

Back to patents, and whether the iPhone or Android were stolen. The only comment can EVER be is that the truth doesn’t matter, only the patents matter.  Actually, that’s not true either, to a certain extent, because before the patent litigation goes through, all of the conjecture and press around the products in question can cause a huge swing in the markets that control these things anyway.

Take an even closer look at the iPhone/Android debate and you get into a very murky situation.

Jobs called Android a “stolen product,” but theft can be a tricky concept when talking about innovation. The iPhone didn’t emerge fully formed from Jobs’s head. Rather, it represented the culmination of incremental innovation over decades—much of which occurred outside of Cupertino.

Really, when you get right down to it, we are arguing about why Steve Jobs was angry. Ironically enough, Google CEO Eric Schmidt used to sit on Apple’s board of directors, ostensibly during the development of Android itself, and Google was a prominent presence at the unveiling of the first iPhone in early 2007.

So why was Jobs so pissed at Google about Android?

I have reasonable doubt that it wasn’t as much a personal feeling of abandonment and betrayal. The stealing was secondary.

more later – joel

What I did with my iPhone 4 this morning before work


5:50am (at home)

  • Woke up to the iPhone alarm

6:35am (waiting for the train)

  • Checked email (Exchange and Gmail)
  • Checked Google News / Facebook / Twitter
  • Read the Globe and Mail

7:10am (on train)

  • Finished an episode from Mad Men on Netflix
  • Updated outline for my 3rd and 4th novel from OneNote
  • Proofed a chapter of my second novel and made annotation using iBooks
  • Phone my wife to wake her and the kids up for school
  • Made a new audio playlist of good walking songs

8:25am (walk to work)

  • Listened to the new playlist


Go back in time and ask me if this is all possible on a phone?  I’d say no way in hell.

Also, when I get home, I plan on recording some music on FourTrack (multi-track recording app), and then possibly going for a drive in the country (which I will navigate via the TomTom app). 

Ok, I made up the bit about going driving…


more later – joel

Used TomTom for iPhone over the summer hols–loved it

We took a long-ish drive into northern Ontario and I wanted to ensure that we had decent map coverage on our phones even when we were out of a coverage area (which was fairly often on some of the back roads).

The TomTom iPhone app – only $39 for the Canada/Alaska version – worked tremendously.  I found that it would naturally route us using major highways, but if we wanted to skirt through a particular town, that was easy to do.

The GPS on the iPhone 4 worked perfectly, and all turns and notifications were spot-on.  The fast app switching of iOS 4 meant that we didn’t lose notifications when my wife wanted to change the music coming over bluetooth (which worked perfectly, as well).

The only thing I can think of that would be swell is the ability to route the audio through the headset profile for bluetooth instead of the A2DP so that you can still get notifications when the car’s audio was switch to the radio or CD instead of bluetooth audio.

Why do we have “bloatware”?

When you buy a new PC, you have to deal with a barrage of crap you need to delete before the thing is usable.  Now this is happening with Android phones.

They obviously don’t give a damn about the user’s experience.  Didn’t they see the movie Tron?  Is this what sets Apple apart most of all? I think so.  I don’t own a Mac, but I recommend them to family members and friends, mostly so I know they won’t have to ask me for help setting it up.  I have an iPhone 3G and I will certainly purchase an iPhone 4 so that my wife can finally ditch her crippled Nokia 5300 “music phone” that can’t even play music properly.

This reminds me of a book I am reading called “Rework”, by the folks from 37signals.  If you look at “bloatware” as the only thing bringing you a decent monetization, than maybe the model is wrong…

Ironically, my blog here is bloated with Google ads… but that’s just an experiment. 

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