Self-healing surfaces are theoretically the perfect solutions to easily worn-out gadgets, but our dreams come crashing down as soon as deliberate contact is involved; as existing materials don’t conduct electricity, they can’t be used in capacitive touchscreens and other very logical places. If Stanford University’s research into a new plastic polymer bears fruit, though, our scratched-up phones and tablets are more likely to become distant memories. The material can heal within minutes of cuts through fast-forming hydrogen bonds, rivaling some of its peers, but also includes nanoscopic nickel particles that keep a current flowing and even respond to flexing or pressure. The material is uniquely built for the real world, too, with resilience against multiple wounds and normal temperatures. While the polymer’s most obvious use would be for mobile devices whose entire surface areas can survive the keys in our pockets, Stanford also imagines wires that fix themselves and prosthetic limbs whose skin detects when it’s bent out of shape. As long as we can accept that possible commercialization is years away, there’s hope that we eventually won’t have to handle our technology with kid gloves to keep it looking pretty.
Reports are hitting that OnLive, the cloud gaming service, laid off the majority of its staff today. Apparently the staff was called in for an all hands on meeting this morning and was promptly shown the door — or something like that. According to Mashable, some staffers could be rehired for the company’s next venture.
We reached out to OnLive’s head of Corporate Communications who promptly replied: “I have no comment on the news other than to say the OnLive service is not shutting down.”
Since OnLive has yet to confirm the layoffs, it’s unclear exactly what’s happening with OnLive. The cloud service could theoretically continue as is with just a skeleton crew. If built properly, the OnLive gaming platform and might just need someone to sit in front of a server log and watch for errors. However, if the reports of layoffs are true, then it’s likely OnLive is coming to the end of its life.
OnLive was founded in 2003 by Steve Perlman but made headlines with its cloud gaming service in 2009. At the time we asked if OnLive was on crack? There was no way it could work, we thought. But work it did. In fact OnLive grew into a legitimate gaming system since its launch.
The timing of the layoffs is strange, too. OnLive just helped Vizio launch the Google TV Co-Star. With OnLive, the Co-Star seemed like a legitimate set-top box. Without OnLive it’s just another Google TV box.
OnLive does more than just gaming, too. The company launched OnLive Desktop at CES 2012, which gives the iPad and Android tablets access to a remotely hosted Windows Server 2008 desktop.
We’ll update as this story develops.Related Posts:
When Louis C.K. announced that he was selling tickets to his shows for $ 45, cutting out ticket middlemen entirely, the response was fairly giddy. As of this writing, he sold $ 6,102,000 in tickets, not a bad haul. Of those 135,600 tickets, 500 are now floating around the scalping sites.
He did, however do a little experiment: he sold two shows traditionally, through Ticketmaster and the like, and 1,100 of those tickets out of 4,400 available are already on scalping sites like Stubhub.
He writes:Contact with these scalpers has been enlightening. They tend to respond with indignance and a defensive posture “Hey man! Scalping is NOT a crime!” We’re not treating it as a crime or even a wrong-doing. We are just competing with them, on behalf of my fans, to enforce the terms and conditions of our ticket sales and to keep the prices down. It’s worth the effort, it’s working and it’s even been kind of fun.
The interesting thing is that C.K. hasn’t yet described the methodology for “killing” scalped tickets but it seems to be some sort of fan-based mechanical Turking that grabs barcodes from scalped tickets online. While I suspect this is more difficult than it seems, I also suspect that the folks who would traditionally go to scalpers are erring on the side of caution, thereby disabling the scalping business model. It’s an amazing display of frictionless markets and, although it does reduce revenue on the seedier side of ticket sales, it certainly makes fans feel warm and fuzzy.
Incidentally, am I alone in not being happy with the first episode of the new series of Louie?Related Posts:
A single blogger recently relayed comments made by a single Tesla service tech who reportedly knew of five Teslas that were “bricked” by owners who left them off the charger too long. This single unverified report spread like wildfire across the blogosphere. Tesla came out and acknowledged that it was possible to destroy the Roadster’s battery pack by keeping it unplugged but Tesla has employed numerous counter-measures to prevent that from happening. The company responded further today in a lengthy blog post titled “Plug It In.
Here’s a key excerpt from the blog post,
A plugged-in Tesla is not only charging its battery, it is also keeping key systems within the car functioning properly. Tesla owners around the world keep their cars charged on a daily basis without any issues at all. If ever the battery in your Tesla runs low, the car is designed to let you know with repeated visual and audible warnings. If you continue to ignore the warnings, they will persist and increase. The vehicle also protects the battery itself by communicating with other systems in the car to conserve energy when the state of charge gets too low. Starting with Roadster 2.0, owners can also elect for their car to contact Tesla headquarters once the state of charge falls below a specified level, and we can then contact the owner.
For what it’s worth Autoblog, our sister site in our Aol Huffington Post Media Group, did a little Googling and discovered that the random blogger and apparent Tesla owner are long-time business partners and not random acquaintances as the original blog post would have you believe.
Tesla’s service is legendary. I’ve spent a lot of time following the company over the last four years and have only heard extraordinary reports. I’m not saying the company is perfect, and it is totally possible to brick a Tesla, but the company has taken reasonable steps to prevent that from happening. But sometimes morons slip through the cracks.
Earlier today, Microsoft accused Google of manipulating Internet Explorer’s default privacy restrictions in order to “bypass user preferences about cookies.” Google’s just responded with a lengthy rebuttal, arguing that Microsoft’s P3P cookie technology is “widely non-operational,” and that the issue has been around since 2002. The response also points to other offenders, citing a 2010 Carnegie Mellon research paper that says over 11,000 websites don’t use valid P3P policies.
Google’s also specifically bringing Facebook and Amazon into the fracas, citing their similar use of the P3P bypass. Google references Facebook’s policy on P3P cookies, and says that it and other websites have been open about their approach. Both Facebook and Google…
Nest is ready to fight. The Palo Alto company just issued a followup statement regarding Honeywell’s recent patent infringement suit.
In short they’re not going to roll over. They’re going to stand tall. The plan is to “vigorously defend itself” from what they call an attempt to stifle “thoughtful competition.” Nice. Go get ‘em, boys.
From Nest Labs: We at Nest are proud of creating products that bring true innovation to home efficiency and we are continuing to innovate and bring products to market. The Nest Learning Thermostat is already making a difference, saving customers energy and money. Nest will vigorously defend itself against Honeywell’s patent-attack strategy to stifle thoughtful competition and we have the resources, support and conviction to do so.
Nest Labs might have a tough fight ahead. Honeywell alleges that the Nest Learning Thermostat infringes on seven of Honeywell’s patents. From my view on the outside it seems that Honeywell might have a case but Nest likely (hopefully) saw this coming and already has a litigation strategy prepped to argue that these patents are invalid. But it’s up to the courts now.
AVG has responded to the vast criticism of its recently released antivirus application for Windows Phone 7.
Microsoft took the unusual step on Friday of pulling a Windows Phone 7 application from its Marketplace. AVG’s antivirus scanner for Windows Phone 7 was removed after a number of criticisms from Windows Phone users. The application, made available earlier this week, has been found to improperly use the Geo Location (GeoCoordinateWatcher) API to track a device and send a number of key identifying data to AVGs servers. AVG appears to collect the phone make, model, a users email address and their location.
AVG responded to the claims on Friday in a company blog post. Chief technology officer for AVG, Yuval Ben-Itzhak explained that the company “worked closely with Microsoft on the development of this product.” Addressing concerns about the amount of data transmitted by the app, Ben-Itzhak claims it’s for the good of the end user. “All of the data we collect is used solely to offer users an exceptional security service with state-of-the-art GPS tracking,” he said. AVG promises the following:
- We will not sell your data to anyone.
- We do not share or otherwise disclose your data to anyone without your permission.
- We do not mine your data for patterns.
- We do not use your data to target ads.
- We do not access your location data without your permission.
Ben-Itzhak also reveals that AVG’s team were trained by Microsoft. AVG implemented some changes recommended by Microsoft according to Ben-Itzhak. Explaining the reasoning behind an antivirus application for a platform with no known threats, AVG says it believes Windows Phone 7 will become a target soon. “AVG believes that the Windows Phone 7 OS will continue to increase in popularity and, as it does, it will become a high value target for thieves and hackers,” says Ben-Itzhak. Microsoft is currently investigating the application.
AVG responds to Microsoft’s Windows Phone antivirus app removal originally appeared at WinRumors.com.
Never get into a fight with people who have more expensive lawyers. Lodsys, the patent trolls trying to make people license a dubious feature based on in-app sales, received a letter from Apple’s wolverine-like lawyers asking them to cease and desist asking for developers for money. They write:
Because I believe that your letters are based on a fundamental misapprehension regarding Apple’s license and the way Apple’s products work, I expect that the additional information set out below will be sufficient for you to withdraw your outstanding threats to the App Makers and cease and desist from any further threats to Apple’s customers and partners. … Therefore, Apple requests that Lodsys immediately withdraw all notice letters sent to Apple App Makers and cease its false assertions that the App Makers’ use of licensed Apple products and services in any way constitute infringement of any Lodsys patent.
I suspect this won’t be the end of the story. However, it is a strong and forceful letter by a traditionally strong and forceful legal team and we can assume that this will convince most developers not to cave when/if they receive a Lodsys letter.BY EMAIL AND FIRST-CLASS MAIL
May 23, 2011
Mark Small Chief Executive Officer Lodsys, LLC [Address removed]
Dear Mr. Small:
I write to you on behalf of Apple Inc. (“Apple”) regarding your recent notice letters to application developers (“App Makers”) alleging infringement of certain patents through the App Makers’ use of Apple products and services for the marketing, sale, and delivery of applications (or “Apps”). Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patent and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license. There is no basis for Lodsys’ infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers. Apple intends to share this letter and the information set out herein with its App Makers and is fully prepared to defend Apple’s license rights.
Because I believe that your letters are based on a fundamental misapprehension regarding Apple’s license and the way Apple’s products work, I expect that the additional information set out below will be sufficient for you to withdraw your outstanding threats to the App Makers and cease and desist from any further threats to Apple’s customers and partners.
First, Apple is licensed to all four of the patents in the Lodsys portfolio. As Lodsys itself advertises on its website, “Apple is licensed for its nameplate products and services.” See http://www.lodsys.com/blog.html (emphasis in original). Under its license, Apple is entitled to offer these licensed products and services to its customers and business partners, who, in turn, have the right to use them.
Second, while we are not privy to all of Lodsys’s infringement contentions because you have chosen to send letters to Apple’s App Makers rather than to Apple itself, our understanding based on the letters we have reviewed is that Lodsys’s infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers rest on Apple products and services covered by the license. These Apple products and services are offered by Apple to the App Makers to enable them to interact with the users of Apple products-such as the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and the Apple iOS operating system-through the use or Apple’s App Store, Apple Software Development Kits, and Apple Application Program Interfaces (“APIs”) and Apple servers and other hardware.
The illustrative infringement theory articulated by Lodsys in the letters we have reviewed under Claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 7,222,078 is based on App Makers’ use of such licensed Apple products and services. Claim 1 claims a user interface that allows two-way local interaction with the user and elicits user feedback. Under your reading of the claim as set out in your letters, the allegedly infringing acts require the use of Apple APIs to provide two-way communication, the transmission of an Apple ID and other services to permit access for the user to the App store, and the use of Apple’s hardware, iOS, and servers.
Claim 1 also claims a memory that stores the results of the user interaction and a communication element to carry those results to a central location. Once again, Apple provides, under the infringement theories set out in your letters, the physical memory in which user feedback is stored and, just as importantly, the APIs that allow transmission of that user feedback to and from the App Store, over an Apple server, using Apple hardware and software. Indeed, in the notice letters to App Makers that we have been privy to, Lodsys itself relies on screenshots of the App Store to purportedly meet this claim element.
Finally, claim 1 claims a component that manages the results from different users and collects those results at the central location. As above, in the notice letters we have seen, Lodsys uses screenshots that expressly identify the App Store as the entity that purportedly collects and manages the results of these user interactions at a central location.
Thus, the technology that is targeted in your notice letters is technology that Apple is expressly licensed under the Lodsys patents to offer to Apple’s App Makers. These licensed products and services enable Apple’s App Makers to communicate with end users through the use of Apple’s own licensed hardware, software, APIs, memory, servers, and interfaces, including Apple’s App Store. Because Apple is licensed under Lodsys’ patents to offer such technology to its App Makers, the App Makers are entitled to use this technology free from any infringement claims by Lodsys.
Through its threatened infringement claims against users of Apple’s licensed technology, Lodsys is invoking patent law to control the post-sale use of these licensed products and methods. Because Lodsys’s threats are based on the purchase or use of Apple products and services licensed under the Agreement, and because those Apple products and services, under the reading articulated in your letters, entirely or substantially embody each of Lodsys’s patents, Lodsys’s threatened claims are barred by the doctrines of patent exhaustion and first sale. As the Supreme Court has made clear, “[t]he authorized sale of an article that substantially embodies a patent exhausts the patent holder’s rights and prevents the patent holder from invoking patent law to control postsale use of the article.” Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Elecs., Inc., 553 U.S. 617 (2008).
Therefore, Apple requests that Lodsys immediately withdraw all notice letters sent to Apple App Makers and cease its false assertions that the App Makers’ use of licensed Apple products and services in any way constitute infringement of any Lodsys patent.
Very truly yours,
Bruce Sewell Senior Vice President & General Counsel Apple Inc.
Like it not, you have to hand it to Stephen Elop, Nokia’s new CEO. The man isn’t afraid to shake things up and clean house to meet his vision of the future. And now that he’s made Windows Phone 7 Nokia’s “primary smarphone platform” in what he sees as a three-way race between Microkia, Googloid, and Apple (sorry HP and RIM), the man’s free to unleash his mild-mannered Canadian fury upon Google’s Vic Gundotra (via proxy). As you’ll recall, Vic insulted the rumored partnership earlier in the week by tweeting, “two turkeys do not make an Eagle.” If you don’t understand Elop’s twitter-burn then we urge you to visit one of Dayton Ohio’s fine historical museums while eating a slice of Cassano’s pizza — we hear it’s delicious.
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Ever have a really bad day? You know, when you try to do a simple task like reboot a server and suddenly your whole week is shot? That, apparently, is what happened at Cisco HQ, with the result being the disabling of thousands of Linksys Media Extenders, as we reported last week. Our request for info was finally channeled through to the right people and we have a response as to what happened:
Yes we did have to take the server down for maintenance and during the reboot realized we had an issue with a certificate server. All is fixed now and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused to our customers.
So, that missing IP should now be responding and hopefully your Extenders are working again. Also, it seems this was not part of a vast cable company conspiracy to keep you from watching downloaded versions of The Walking Dead and finding out how Rick got out of that tank. Now, as to why the thing needs to dial home in the first place, and when will that freshly certified server be put out to pasture for good, rest assured we’re looking for answers.
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