Friday, 31 July 2009

iPhone 3GI

Within weeks of the new iPhone 3GS hitting the stores there's already rumours of the next update, dubbed the iPhone 3GI...
Before you get too excited I should let you know that the report featured on the excellent site The Onion and goes into details such as:

"Not only is this our lightest and slimmest model ever, but as any truly savvy Apple customer can clearly see, it's also the most handsome product we've ever designed."

And describes "a multi-touch interface that provides those who are "cool enough" with a rich user experience."

If you've not guessed by now (or aren't familiar with The Onion's style of satire), it's a spoof, with the 'I' standing for 'invisible' but for a couple of days there was a growing number of tweets around it as people got a bit caught up in the next big thing from Apple.

US patent granted on podcasting

Photographer and podcaster @WildlifePhotog tweeted a link on Friday to a Softpedia article detailing a patent that's apparently been granted to US company VoloMedia.

Q) So what's their big new invention?

A) Podcasting.

That's right, VoloMedia are claiming that they invented podcasting. The patent was filed in 2008 but is a continuance to a previous one in 2003 and covers the concept of "episodic media content" which could include not just podcasts but potentially also things like RSS feeds in general. As Ars Technica points out it's hard to work out what's actually been invented here since they aren't claiming to have actually created the ability to download a media file or an RSS feed itself.

VoloMedia are currently claiming not to be interested in licensing deals however this is an obvious threat to anyone producing podcasts, in particular large companies who now face the prospect of a retrospective claim being made for licensing monies.

Personally I feel sure that podcasting was already around in 2003 and if someone can demonstrate prior art over this then the patent can be invalidated. Wikipedia has a statement that they emerged in 2004 and this has apparently been enough to overturn an application to trademark the term the following year.

EDIT - There is a suggestion that the first podcast may have been in July 2003 from Boston radio broadcaster Christopher Lydon following his attendance at BloggerCon in Harvard. At around the same time ex-MTV host Adam Curry apparently wrote some software to extend RSS feeds to include audio content and automatically download archived shows to his iPod.

It looks like it's going to come down to a matter of timing between the podcasts and the aggregation software at the time and the specific dates detailed in VoloMedia's patent claim.

Kudos to the regular blogger

I'm realising that this blogger malarkey needs a fair bit of time
devoted to it, you've got to have something interesting to say (whether
your readers agree or not is another question), do enough prep or
research to ensure that it's factually correct, spend some time writing
the damn thing and then revise/edit so that it makes sense.
So kudos to the bloggers out there who have other jobs or time pressures
and yet still manage to post frequent, interesting content. Of course,
you could always just throw some words together and hit send but I think
that the best amateur bloggers probably spend as much time getting the
post up scratch as professional bloggers and journalists do.

With that in mind and with a unusual lack of hubris on my part I've
realised that while I am still working for a living and wanting to spend
my spare time doing things like scuba diving, mountain biking,
photography, growing veg on the allotment, DIY around the flat.... oh,
and spending some time with my long-suffering wife as well, I'm not
going to be able to update this blog with anything like the regularity I
had originally intended.

It's probably not going to affect many people in the scheme of things
since there's still not that many of you reading this on a regular basis
(the Google Analytics show that most of you are one-off or sporadic
readers). I'm not going to compete with people like Mashable or The
Register for speed and volume but I'll still post about major things
that catch my eye.