Thanksgiving in Europe…

The gavel comes down on the side of common sense...

Over the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States found internet service providers (ISPs) along with their users across the pond in Europe with reason to also give thanks. As the highest court in the European Union (EU) decided to overturn a ruling that would have forced the Belgian ISPs to preemptively filter Internet traffic to prevent ah what, well let’s see the unauthorized sharing of music files. Ok, disclaimer, here that piracy is wrong, however we are going to put the brakes on the information super highway over this! Folk let’s get real, here as we have world hunger, AIDS, cancer and so on to solve and we are still talking about music sharing?

As here is where I credit the European Court of Justice for overturning a basically rogue ruling by a Belgian court in a suit brought by the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SABAM). As it seems that SABAM had filed suit against Scarlet Extended over its alleged illegal peer-to-peer file sharing capabilities which were being used by Scarlet’s customers.  From that case there was a  2007 ruling which required Scarlet to filter traffic on its network, so that it could seek out and block illegal peer to peer file sharing traffic. As the lower court’s ruling was based on an interpretation of Belgian copyright laws which appeared to place the burden of enforcement on ISPs rather then the folks committing ill deed.

To this travesty, the ISP had appealed by focusing on European data privacy laws, saying in essence that the ruling would in effect force the company to monitor all Internet traffic (i.e. be Big Brother) passing through its network as this would clearly be technically unfeasible as well as violate the privacy of its customers.

Contained in its ruling, The High Court did uphold the right of copyright holders to file injunctions against intermediaries over action of illegal file sharing. Yet it struck down the provisions from the prior Belgian court ruling that required filtering, as it pointed out that the filtering provisions violated European Union e-commerce laws, as well as infringed on the rights of both the ISP and its customers. As it furthered its position by saying that broad monitoring required to filter file-sharing would “infringe the fundamental rights of [Scarlet’s] customers, namely their right to protection of their personal data and their right to receive or impart information, which are rights safeguarded by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU,” so said the judge(s). One step for an ISP, yet a giant leap for mankind in the protection of the Internet as if you lose an inch it might as well be a mile because that’s next…

Game On…

Widgets are coming to a dash (and many other things) near you soon!

Recently, the news blog Ars Technica ran a story on the gamifcation of driving based on the new Chevy Volt the electric-gas hybrid by General Motors.  As several thing caught my attention about the story as the first was the use of the term “widget”  by Jonathan Gitlin ( the author of the story) as he makes firm mention of how the dash appears to be comprised of “widgets”.    As for those who may not be aware, this is a euphemism for a general purpose something put to a specific use.  So what’s the big deal about this as we have these “widget” things on our smart phones, computers and so on so why not our car too?

Well Virginia that’s the point why not and it’s about time as especially for General Motors as while I have to admit to having a soft spot for them having been a GM employee then working many years again for them after leaving, I must say they tended to be a bit hind the times as they where basically last in line to add to 3.5mm audio in jack for people to connect their MP3 players.  Yes, I know those were just fad devices  so why bother right, so it seems here they’ve jumped on the bandwagon with the up and coming paradigms.

As what else these little widget guys bring is modularity as my wife’s Ford Edge with Sync takes a stab at this however the gen-1 version comes up a little short so only a gold star for effort and my fingers are crossed the gen-2 will solve the problems.  Yet auto waxing aside (as I also did a lot of work for Ford too), the main idea here is we are starting to solve our problems in “pieces” rather than in whole as what I find exciting about this is it will provide for a more efficient mix of problem solving at a higher resolution.

What is this higher resolution thing your mentioning there Campbell as a problem is a problem right so what gives?  The answer is much like if we where to steal from the MP3 example as you can sample audio at “bit rates” or in other words speed.  So the higher the “bit rate” the better the sound quality and there for the “higher the resolution”, so you can have two copies of the same song at different “bit rates” and you will have two solutions to one problem with a different quality.  In other words, yes you can use a screw driver as a hammer, however the results will be less then optimal.

So it’s here that the venerable widget earns its wings as before in the car (as well as many other things) we had one solution to a problem as we had one radio, a dash, heater control and so one, however today they are blended yet separated even more to provide for a higher level of “problem solving” as for example in my wife’s Edge, one cluster shows everything and allows her to add instrumentation to   her liking as since she has a heavy foot, she typically has the tach showing so she can use her paddle shifters.  Yet when her less wild child side kicks in, with a push of the button the tach is gone and the car now shares with her, her driving efficiency and yes you guessed it, the tach gets far more dash time…

Google Gives Thumbs Down to the Sun…

Fact, fiction, future or just plain folly?

In the past the venerable search engine giant Google has been known to put its money where  its mouth was with a significant financial commitment to efficiency and renewable energy.  Here in what was referred to  as it’s  “RE < C” initiative it invested in  various forms of wind power projects and US’s geothermal resources.  Yet with an itch to be a self innovator, it took part of the RE < C work in house as a Google initiative.  Yet it seems that as they cut back, wait the giant Google now cutting back?  Yes it seems reality has set in and they can’t operate on love after all and hey Microsoft makes more off Android then they do.  However as part of its claimed general cutbacks, the company has announced that all internal renewable energy work will stop.  Now in fairness it also did point out that outside investments will continue yet didn’t state at what levels.

As while Google’s intent in this arena  were probably well thought out when  they launched the program, it appears they might have ended up betting on the wrong technology in what some consider a fast moving and dynamic  market if you will. As their biggest bet was that concentrated solar power (do you recall the movie Sahara) would end up being the top dog in the renewable energy arena, and therefore it should be a key focus area for investment.

To build upon this concept they took to working on heliostats which allow mirrors to track the sun, along with the development of a solar-driven hot air turbine engine. In short neither of these tracks saw much sun light (pun intended) .  It also appears as if a number of renewable energy companies had already achieved a reasonable level of success of extracting savings as Google was quoted as saying “Our cost analysis projected that our heliostat field would be only modestly less expensive than previous approaches,” Google concluded.

In addition it appears that the entire renewably energy field seems has moved beyond the need for a solar driven turbine engine too. As photovoltaic systems have now dropped considerably in price at a clip faster than most had figured would happen, thus making their economics far more attractive over concentrated solar.  With this said , Google is sensing the light is dimming on concentrated solar with a quick shift toward technologies which can continue releasing electricity well after the sun has set, which are based upon designs which incorporate converting electricity into heat for storage in molten salt.

Yet my point here is not so much to pick on Google as I like them in a way, however as with all iconoclastic companies, reality one day does set in and here it seems two fold.  The first being cut backs and assuredly the second and just speculation on my part is at least business casual dress (save for Fridays).  Yet second and more importantly this non-sense about renewable energy being a savor both economically and environmentally as neither sorry to say is a reality.

Keep in mind that the laws of physics clearly state there isn’t a free lunch or perpetual motion would be a reality so what makes people think that all this renewable nonsense is anything but?  Now don’t get me wrong, there are concepts in the renewable field (such as photovoltaic) which make sense because their application is of value and the economy of the idea isn’t based solely upon “concept” as in the Google example.  So as Anne was fond of saying “The Sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar”…

Google Gives Thumbs Down to the Sun…

Fact, fiction, future or just plain folly?

In the past the venerable search engine giant Google has been known to put its money where  its mouth was with a significant financial commitment to efficiency and renewable energy.  Here in what was referred to  as it’s  “RE < C” initiative it invested in  various forms of wind power projects and US’s geothermal resources.  Yet with an itch to be a self innovator, it took part of the RE < C work in house as a Google initiative.  Yet it seems that as they cut back, wait the giant Google now cutting back?  Yes it seems reality has set in and they can’t operate on love after all and hey Microsoft makes more off Android then they do.  However as part of its claimed general cutbacks, the company has announced that all internal renewable energy work will stop.  Now in fairness it also did point out that outside investments will continue yet didn’t state at what levels.

As while Google’s intent in this arena  were probably well thought out when  they launched the program, it appears they might have ended up betting on the wrong technology in what some consider a fast moving and dynamic  market if you will. As their biggest bet was that concentrated solar power (do you recall the movie Sahara) would end up being the top dog in the renewable energy arena, and therefore it should be a key focus area for investment.

To build upon this concept they took to working on heliostats which allow mirrors to track the sun, along with the development of a solar-driven hot air turbine engine. In short neither of these tracks saw much sun light (pun intended) .  It also appears as if a number of renewable energy companies had already achieved a reasonable level of success of extracting savings as Google was quoted as saying “Our cost analysis projected that our heliostat field would be only modestly less expensive than previous approaches,” Google concluded.

In addition it appears that the entire renewably energy field seems has moved beyond the need for a solar driven turbine engine too. As photovoltaic systems have now dropped considerably in price at a clip faster than most had figured would happen, thus making their economics far more attractive over concentrated solar.  With this said , Google is sensing the light is dimming on concentrated solar with a quick shift toward technologies which can continue releasing electricity well after the sun has set, which are based upon designs which incorporate converting electricity into heat for storage in molten salt.

Yet my point here is not so much to pick on Google as I like them in a way, however as with all iconoclastic companies, reality one day does set in and here it seems two fold.  The first being cut backs and assuredly the second and just speculation on my part is at least business casual dress (save for Fridays).  Yet second and more importantly this non-sense about renewable energy being a savor both economically and environmentally as neither sorry to say is a reality.

Keep in mind that the laws of physics clearly state there isn’t a free lunch or perpetual motion would be a reality so what makes people think that all this renewable nonsense is anything but?  Now don’t get me wrong, there are concepts in the renewable field (such as photovoltaic) which make sense because their application is of value and the economy of the idea isn’t based solely upon “concept” as in the Google example.  So as Anne was fond of saying “The Sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar”…

Global Warming, Fact Fiction or Something Else…

Global Average Temps 1850 to 2008 (notice something)...

As with everything else how does one get some actual evidence on the public’s opinions about a topic?  Well of course you hire a bunch of researchers  to conduct a survey  representative of a group and here it was  750 US adults. As these folks were asked to rate their acceptance of various aspects of climate change, as well as some basic demographic and political information.

Out of this poll it came to light that to an even greater degree than in other polls, this population set didn’t realize that there’s a scientific consensus on climate change. As a surprising full half fell into that category, with most surveyed thinking that there was a lot of disagreement among scientists and five percent thinking that scientists don’t even think global warming is happening. Yet even scarier is that another 16 percent didn’t know enough to answer as I believe these folks also failed the control question of who was buried in Grant’s tomb.

Even adjusting for variables such as political orientation and cultural worldview didn’t affect the results, which suggests that people don’t misunderstand the scientific consensus because they are ideologically predisposed to do so. Additionally there were also no indications which showed that  people believe there’s a scientific controversy because they are mistaken about the details of climate science in general.

Yet what is interesting is the basic outlines of greenhouse warming are so simple and intuitive should the public even have to rely upon experts at all?  As while grant it, this is a complex topic, one of the things which I suggest you do if you question this is go to Google Maps and pull up the satellite view of Greenland, as if they don’t know (again another scary idea) is “Greenland” isn’t green, in fact for most of my life it’s been covered with a mile thick sheet of ice.  Well guess what, not any more as quite a bit of the country is now in fact green.

A problem yes as not in so much that Greenland is green, it’s that all that ice if gone, so what’s the big deal about that?  Simple, only fresh water freezes,  so all of this once contained “fresh water” has now been dumped into the Atlantic and water is water right?  Wrong answer as this has and is changing the salinity of the Atlantic and changing the specific gravity of water and there shifting therefore the mid Atlantic Conveyor system.  So what’s the big deal again, well look at the weather over the UK for the past 5 to ten years and you tell me.

Ok, not enough for common sense, already let’s look at the amount of oil we pump out of the ground, then there is the coal we dig and what do we do with all of this stuff?  Yes that’s right burn it in our cars, electrical power plants and so on.  Ok, so what happens when you burn that pound of fuel as it while it seems to disappear doesn’t it,  yet as we know by the laws of thermodynamics we can’t destroy matter, but simply change its state.  So yes Virginia, that once liquid gasoline and solid coal is now a gasses affluent floating around below our tropopause where it just so happens that 99% of all of weather lives too.  In short this (as with the fresh water example) is altering the fluid dynamics of our atmosphere without question.  Again as said at the onset this is a complex topic, however the existence is pretty darn straight forward…

Global Warming, Fact Fiction or Something Else…

Global Average Temps 1850 to 2008 (notice something)...

As with everything else how does one get some actual evidence on the public’s opinions about a topic?  Well of course you hire a bunch of researchers  to conduct a survey  representative of a group and here it was  750 US adults. As these folks were asked to rate their acceptance of various aspects of climate change, as well as some basic demographic and political information.

Out of this poll it came to light that to an even greater degree than in other polls, this population set didn’t realize that there’s a scientific consensus on climate change. As a surprising full half fell into that category, with most surveyed thinking that there was a lot of disagreement among scientists and five percent thinking that scientists don’t even think global warming is happening. Yet even scarier is that another 16 percent didn’t know enough to answer as I believe these folks also failed the control question of who was buried in Grant’s tomb.

Even adjusting for variables such as political orientation and cultural worldview didn’t affect the results, which suggests that people don’t misunderstand the scientific consensus because they are ideologically predisposed to do so. Additionally there were also no indications which showed that  people believe there’s a scientific controversy because they are mistaken about the details of climate science in general.

Yet what is interesting is the basic outlines of greenhouse warming are so simple and intuitive should the public even have to rely upon experts at all?  As while grant it, this is a complex topic, one of the things which I suggest you do if you question this is go to Google Maps and pull up the satellite view of Greenland, as if they don’t know (again another scary idea) is “Greenland” isn’t green, in fact for most of my life it’s been covered with a mile thick sheet of ice.  Well guess what, not any more as quite a bit of the country is now in fact green.

A problem yes as not in so much that Greenland is green, it’s that all that ice if gone, so what’s the big deal about that?  Simple, only fresh water freezes,  so all of this once contained “fresh water” has now been dumped into the Atlantic and water is water right?  Wrong answer as this has and is changing the salinity of the Atlantic and changing the specific gravity of water and there shifting therefore the mid Atlantic Conveyor system.  So what’s the big deal again, well look at the weather over the UK for the past 5 to ten years and you tell me.

Ok, not enough for common sense, already let’s look at the amount of oil we pump out of the ground, then there is the coal we dig and what do we do with all of this stuff?  Yes that’s right burn it in our cars, electrical power plants and so on.  Ok, so what happens when you burn that pound of fuel as it while it seems to disappear doesn’t it,  yet as we know by the laws of thermodynamics we can’t destroy matter, but simply change its state.  So yes Virginia, that once liquid gasoline and solid coal is now a gasses affluent floating around below our tropopause where it just so happens that 99% of all of weather lives too.  In short this (as with the fresh water example) is altering the fluid dynamics of our atmosphere without question.  Again as said at the onset this is a complex topic, however the existence is pretty darn straight forward…

What’s Santa Bringing You this Year…

They once said "digital will never replace film", well guess what you have a choice of either get on the bus or be left behind as the handwriting is clear... (Oh and the internet is just a fad)

Well guess the first question is if you where good or not is going to be the first thing, however your proclivity to remain out of trouble isn’t our worry in this waxing as hey Santa needs a job too.  Yet what has me thinking aloud is it appears that the publishing industry is still feeling out ways to take advantage of new digital formats.  As if I had to guess some of the “adult” (and not so) items will be iPads, iPhones, Kindle Fires and maybe even a Galaxy Tab or two for the more adventurous out there.  As people can say what they may or want, these devices do one thing and they do it very well.  Yes Virginia we may need to talk about this Santa thing, however we don’t have to about these devices being “hyper” eMedia consumption appliances as they are to users of media as beer is to a frat house party.

As well as at this moment there seems to be plenty of traditional magazine subscribers who have claimed that they still prefer old fashioned print, but we all know that a “magazine” is nothing more than a broken iPad.  As there are a few brave souls  as  part of a slowly growing  number since the iPad was introduced in 2010  who read magazines on tablets.  While it’s not if the general public loves them or not might be up for grabs, but what interests me is that according to a newly published survey conducted by the Association of Magazine Media, found those [like myself] who are already reading magazines on tablets tend to really get into them.

As survey said that  adult digital magazine readers where claiming to be reading as much or more magazine content than they did before starting to read on a tablet.  In fact,   two-thirds of the survey said they plan to consume even more “magazines” now that they can do so digitally.

Here Christopher Kevorkian MPA EVP of Digital said in a statement “While various research has long proved that print magazines drive purchase behavior, digital magazines hold the promise of creating a direct link between purchase intent and actual transaction”. As its clear that publishing houses must look to the tablets to help keep them afloat as well as the new role the “magazine” will take on.  As here now there will be a direct connection to the reader which will warrant a paradigm shift from the old ways.

As in the stone ages, trees where cut down, paper was made and water polluted so that color glossy wad of paper could show up in your drug or local book store for you to read for a hour or two and toss out to fill up a landfill.  Here there was no connection as the publishing house had no clue you bought their tome, as all they knew is they sold 2,000 copies to Walgreens.   However in today’s digital world they have a link to you  as that fancy little magazine App is just that an application which can exchange information, display notifications and manage bidirectional feedback.  In short each magazine App can also become its own self contained retail experience further tightening the entire “consumer” web.

So first off, don’t be like those film camera folks that said digital will never take off as it did so and go and try to find a film camera and  if you do try and get the film developed [this is the future of print]!  So its not a question of if, only when you convert as the sooner the better as waxed here before, those which fail to adopt today will become tomorrow’s information impoverished…

Ahoy Maties…

To Pirate or not to Pirate, its all in the Economic Model...

Well it appears America is again number one at something as a newly published survey of American attitudes to online copyright infringement revealed that 70 percent of all 18 to 29-year-olds have pirated music, TV shows, and even movies!  Yet it also points out that two-thirds of those who do happen to acquire copyrighted material without let’s say permission also acquire content legally.

The outcome of this program was the result of polling 2,303 American adults during the month of August and in part funded by Google and titled “Copy Culture in the US and Germany”.  As the polling revealed that over 45 percent of all Americans have engaged in some form of piracy in the past.   It also pointed out that young people also skew the numbers significantly as it found that while piracy is common, it  is also for the most part a relatively casual act.  In fact it appears that only 2 percent of Americans are “heavy music pirates” weighing in with more than 1,000 tracks of infringing music.  As survey said only a mere 1 percent of Americans were heavy TV/movie pirates who have snitched more than 100 infringing titles.

In reality this for most people meant that downloading music and video went  hand-in-hand with acquiring it legally.  As less than one-third of the surveyed pirating populous admitted to owning an entire collection of illicit material.  Survey also said that a large number of pirates have altered their behavior in response to more attractive “legal” services for acquiring content.

Here if we take music for example,  46 percent of American  surveyed  said that they grab unauthorized music less often than they used to in part thanks to legal streaming services while when it came to video, about 40 percent claimed to have already curtailed their activity because of legal alternatives like Netflix.

So for the new world order of electronic media what does this mean?  Well simple, instead of spending millions of millions figuring out how to stop it, turn those same dollars around and figure out how to make it cheaper and easier.  As think about it, why pay the same cost for a download song when you no longer have all the logistics such as creating CD’s, packaging, shipping, stocking and so on!  In short 98 percent of the cost is gone and yet the greed (as capitalism is a fair “competitive” balancing of cost for product and not a “raping” of the consumer) continued.  Therefore this was the reaction to negative market action, yet now the tide appears to be changing which is critically need as we enter into the media consumption era …

Fear…

The adage says, "fear no evil" but how about all the other stuff?

In Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address he sums up the concept of fear with a phrase that would make a fourth grade grammar teacher cringe, yet captured a nation and went to live in infamy as his “magic” words live on.  Here Franklin made clear by these words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” is that fear is something “we” create and therefore if we fear then it us that we created the reason to fear.  As furthering this, Frank Herbert of Dune fame then wrote “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain”. 

As here Herbert says that fear is the “mind killer”, that it also brings with it  “total obliteration”, yet if one stares their fear straight in the eyes, you face the fear in yourself and it will pass leaving you to remain as you are the one who created it [fear]  in the first place.  So what is this philosophical waxing about “fear” today?  Well let’s say I’m not here to talk you into bungee jumping or anything like that as in fact I’m here to talk about business.  So what does business have to do with fear you ask?

While that’s a good question, and the simple answer is its destroying business as its gumming up the capitalistic machine as we speak.  As today business’s are afraid to take risks, to spend money, to hire people, to take a chance or simply do anything!  You want examples, let’s start with Apple, look how much cash they are sitting on, yes they are more liquid then the US government not joking!  While this money is being passively invested so it’s not like its socked away in their waiting room chair cushions or anything, however they are not “actively” using it.  In other words, they aren’t making something in the tangible world with it, hiring people or building factories (in the United States where the money is so to speak).

Lest you think it’s only Apple, think again just look the balance sheets of many of the large corporations out there and it becomes clear that there are those who are just sitting on cash.  So how does fear play into this you ask, they are afraid.  Yes, they fear the economy may weaken, they fear reprisal being different, they fear the loss of their jobs and the list goes on and on.  Hey why rock the boat as your getting a pay check and making Wall Street happy with all this cash right?  Well that’s what you’re thinking as you feed that nasty little beast inside named fear as your afraid to face it aren’t you and YOU know who you are…

So Who’s a Bully…

Justice tends to be blind when it comes to patents...

Well as we’ve waxed here in the past, our book purveying friends at Barnes and Noble claims that our good friends in Redmond Washington being Microsoft have over 60,000 patents!  What makes this even more interesting is that fewer than 20,000 of those were granted by the patent office to Microsoft.  So where did the remainder come from you ask, good question as presumably they purchased the other 40,000 from other firms.

In turn this buying frenzy has result in one of the world’s largest “patent thickets” as Microsoft has so many patents that it’s difficult to build a software product as complex as a mobile operating system.  Well let’s say without infringing dozens, maybe even hundreds, of them at a time doing so.

Here as most big companies would do, Microsoft is taking full advantage of this ability, and approaching each Android-based phone manufacturer in turn and demanding stiff licensing fees.  In fact, many which have been approached claim these fees are at least as high as the fees Microsoft charges for its own Windows Phone 7 operating system. In addition it appears Microsoft has been let’s say a little cagey at best about identifying the specific patents allegedly infringed by these Android vendors. Some might even characterize this process if they didn’t know better as a high-tech shakedown of sorts.

So the big question which needs to be asked is does Microsoft’s conduct in these cases actually run afoul of antitrust laws?  Yet the issue is that anti-trust has limited abilities to deal with twenty first century issues such as these and are as slow as molasses on a cold January day in Wisconsin.

There also seems to be an inherent tension which exists between antitrust law and patent law. In that antitrust law exists to prevent the abuse of monopoly power, whereas patent law on the other hand seems to deliberately foster monopoly power. For the most part, the ways the courts have typically dealt with this tension was to simply give patent holders the upper hand in their decisions as yes you could say justice is truly blind.

Additionally, antitrust gives leeway to the patent monopolist ability to set price, as it may even go beyond that as the owner may refuse to license their patent completely.  So logically if a company has the right to “refuse” to license, then they must also have the right to set an unrealistically high price too.  In all, this means that Microsoft might be on somewhat safe ground around its use of its “patent portfolio” to extract revenues from Android licensees even at rates which its own offering look cheap.

Yet Microsoft might still be in the woods as it could become vulnerable if regulators became convinced that it is using its patent portfolio to kill off competition to its dominant desktop operating system. Yet to prove this as anticompetitive behavior, one would have to show that the activity made no sense other than harming rivals.  Well there is no question there is a lot more to unfold in the arena before the curtain closes for sure…

Death by Patent…

If the Occupy the something or another folks are looking for something constructive how about bailing the little green guy out!

As the venerable book seller Barns & Noble has launched a letter to Gene Kimmelman, the DoJ’s chief counsel of competition policy, arguing that by demanding patent royalties for Android devices, “Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals’ costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices.”  Ouch, say it ain’t so as would the Redmond Washington giant really do something like this?

Guess what started this he said she said was our friends at Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble back in the March time frame by claiming that the company’s NOOK and NOOK Color tablets infringe on five Microsoft owned user interface patents. It appears this little love quarrel came about after the two companies failed to see eye to eye on license terms for patents which Microsoft says are infringed upon by  the Android OS which Nook uses. Even given there is a  growing list of Android vendors which have included big names such as HTC, Samsung, and Amazon, which have agreed to license Microsoft’s patents.  The book worms at Barnes & Noble however stood stead fast and refused by  claiming that the license would restrict its ability to upgrade the software on its tablets.

To further this argument, the retailer also claims that the fees Microsoft had demanded were equal to or greater than those it demanded for an entire operating system, yes Windows Phone.   Even though the patents in questioned only covered what was described as “trivial and non-essential design elements” of the Android user interface.  They even went on to also note that there was only a single patent common to the five patents which  were being sued over and the six that Microsoft was offering to license.

Well if you add them up, it would appear these direct and indirect assaults on Android are being described by Barnes & Noble as an attempt to maintain Microsoft’s desktop monopoly from the threat posed by the free Android operating system.  As if its free its for me right as the letter goes on to state that smartphones and tablets will increasingly replace PCs, thus diminishing the value of Microsoft’s desktop operating system, and that ultimately Android and Chrome will become direct competitors for Windows.

So if averaged together, just  maybe it’s that Microsoft is attempting to save its lead OS position by driving Android into the ground (not like it hasn’t said something of the like)?  Well we will have to wait for the show to start as it looks like the trial between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft is due to start in February 2012. Let’s get the popcorn ready as it will be a good one…

Italy Becomes Austere…

Italy Gets the "Boot"...

As the second and larger shoe drops in the Europe Union with the reality that Italy is headed to the financial drink right behind Greece has forced the hand of the Berlusconi government.  In fact it appears that Silvio himself is headed for the door as its rumored he will be resigning the top post which is opening the door to many questions as to the how the leadership void will be filled post departure.

The other interesting thing is their Senate is due to vote on a package of “austerity” measures lead by an increase the retirement age.  What’s interesting here is in an unrelated manor over the course of this week we’ve waxed about the age being pushed back here in the United States.  As well as the social dynamic which this has played with the [baby] booming generation and the parallel here is this is also the “generation” which would be most affected by an increase in “retirement age”.  In fact it also appears they are stealing a page from the US play book by pushing the age to 67.  As a side bar, I imagine there will be some upset 65 year old folks in Italy!

What is interesting as the Italian debt is sitting at EUR1.9 trillion which is almost 120% of the Italian gross domestic product.  In short, to put this into perspective if you earned $100,000 per year and you now owed $120,000 dollars how will you repay the debt?  As yes, you can run it over time; however time also costs money in interest payments.  Therefore, you have to run your house hold (still), pay off your over indulgences of the past, as well as the interest burden cast upon you all while this Sword of Damocles is hanging over your head.

In fact you can’t dig fast enough as the dirt refills the hole over your head as fear begins to set in as the reality is your doom approaches quickly as the single horse hair which holds the sword above your head lets loose.  Bleak, yes, reality yes to as unless GDP grows and grows significantly for our Italian colleagues we will see the sixth largest economy in the world  tumble bringing with it an untold impact to the Euro-Zone.    As the next question is who will bail them out and maybe better asked, will it be possible to bail them out at all…

P.S. I’m sure they must have Merkel’s phone as they borrowed it from the Greeks…