Patently Absurd

Since the USPTO declared the Eolas patent valid (via Melo, who came by to retrieve the soul enslavement device), I was on the verge of declaring today Patent Idiocy day, but they also seem to have dismissed the NTP patent against RIM, so I can't say they're completely wrong.

Okay, I can. Despite the web's collective sigh of relief a year back, I predict that the skies will fall, that IE will be cast into the depths and that Microsoft will pay oodles of cash to Eolas, who will afterwards come after every single browser except lynx (unless someone ports Flash to aalib).

Maybe the US Supreme Court will show some sense - I don't know. All I know is that the USPTO needs to have their collective head examined and brought into the Web 2.0 age, and I'm not even a US citizen.

If I were, and judging from the Trilateral Web Site, more specifically this document (PDF), I would be gravely concerned that they spent US$1.2 billion in 2003 (the breakdown is on page 19, and interested parties can compare US to EU to Japanese expenditures and probably work out a number of interesting ratios).

And yet, despite presenting the job of patent reviewer as an exciting one, they are obviously having trouble hiring and keeping employees, and it shows.

Oh well. I guess we're not better off (and I really ought to update myself on the software patents issue, which I kind of lost track of after this), but the prospect of someone holding up the web for ransom because they managed to patent commonplace functionality doesn't appeal to me.

On with the news, then:

  • Looks like we're entering the Leopard season, with fresh rumors popping up here and there.
  • Another update on the UK data retention push, which was rejected by the EU (only caught it today).
  • Oh boy, as if MiniSD wasn't small enough to lose, now we have another Memory Stick format... Couple that with the new rumors about a PSP with internal storage, and I might well endure Xmas without a gaming gadget...
  • Via Vitor Domingos, a way to install Gnome 2.12 on a Fedora Core 4 system. Tempting, very tempting...
  • Photoshop Elements 4.0 is coming to the Mac after all. I have been investigating if it could completely replace iPhoto in my (as yet in flux) new photo workflow, and I'll be keeping a close eye on this (it seems to support Canon RAW, for one).
  • I must be the last person to blog about JotSpot Live - Finally, an editable web application with more visual appeal in editing mode (even if I can't seem to be able to edit hyperlinks with Safari). I won't call it a Wiki outright given their effort to "dewikify" it, but it has the makings of a WYSIWYG Wiki that I was pining for. Too bad the source isn't available, but I guess there will be plenty of copycats soon...