Monday, February 20, 2012

Apple invention or prior art?

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong”
--- Steve Jobs

“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
--- Steve Jobs

"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."
--- Steve Jobs

We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.
--- Steve Jobs

Now Apple is suing over auto-complete. Another entirely origianal Apple invention, I guess.

So what are Apple's greatest mobile device inventions?
  • rectangles
  • round corners
  • flat black screens
  • horizontal speaker slots
  • non-cluttered appearance
  • thin profiles
  • auto-complete
  • slide-to-unlock
  • green phone icon for phone
  • envelop for mail icon
  • gears icon for settings
  • grid layout of icons
  • “Multi-Touch” technology
  • iBooks books on a shelf metaphore
  • fading notifications without user intervention
  • text in bubbles indicated by speaker

Here is what I am finding for possible prior art. I would be interested to know what others think. Please feel free to add anything I'm missing, or correct me if I'm wrong about anything.

Sharp JPN 1241638
I am not certain exactly what device this is, or when it came out. But, I think Europe eventually ruled that the iPhone is a knock-off copy of the Sharp JPN 1241638 and that Apple's D'087 patent violated Sharp's '638 patent. That covered a flat black surface, maybe even rounded corners, and retangle shape.

Samsung SGH-Z610 - February 2006

  • Gesture based multimedia touchscreen
  • app drawer
  • front and rear facing camera
  • rounded corners
  • 16 icons up on a desktop
  • a speaker above the 3.5" touchscreen
  • physical round button w/ a play arrow icon below it

Samsung GridPad 1989

  • seems that Samsung is not new to tablet devices

Samsung Origami Tablet PC 2006


Samsung SGH-F700 - 2007

  • Released after iPhone, but before Apple's 358 page long iPhone patent which was filed on September 5th 2007

Sony Ericsson 2002

  • green phone icon (for that matter, don't phone booths use a phone icon?)
  • envelop mail icon

LG KE850, also known as the LG Prada 2006

  • phone icon
  • envelop mail icons
  • capicitve touch screen
  • what about that icon with the four dots? would that take you to a grid of icons?

Packard Bell Navigator 3.5

  • reminds me of Apple iBooks patents - books on a shelf

Neonode N1m - not sure about the year

  • slide to unlock

Apple's gears icon

  • Oreilley software WebSite had a yellow gear for settings
  • Atari ST in 1986 used a gears icon for the settings control panel
  • Windows 95 used Gears for settings:

The ‘134 patent - text in bubbles indicated by speaker

  • besides ignoring pretty much every comic book ever created, there’s a system called “Habitat” from the 1985 that pretty much like what Apple patented, in terms of the arrangement of text into bubbles, with the horizontal layout being dictated by the speaker.

The ‘915 patent - Multi-touch scrolling and scaling

  • 1994-1995 T3:
  • is this an API patent?

The ’891 patent - fading notifications without user intervention

  • filed in 2002
  • see the Windows 2000 MFC API, and notice that the uBalloonTimeout parameter. That fades out the notification without user interaction.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why IT is perfect for offshoring/inshoring

I don't think I could invent any type of work that is more perfect for
offshoring/inshoring than IT.

1) Unlike manufacturing, you don't have to mess with physical inventory. This is
huge. Shipping costs, and other supply chain costs, can be very substantial.
With IT, everything is done over the internet. Perfect for offshoring.

2) Unlike manufacturing, you don't have to worry about special plants, or
special equipment, special environmental regulations, or worker safety issues.
Just use ordinary computers, and ordinary office space. Dealing with foreign
regulations for building permits, and the like can be a nightmare. With IT, you
don't have to bother with any that. Just rent space in an existing building.
Even if you build your own building, you don't have to bother with all the
special issues that go with manufacturing.

3) Unlike health care, or other fields, you don't have to bother with sort of
special education, or licensing requirements. For example, we can import nurses
from Mexico, they would not be qualified. Health care licensing is regulated by
the state. Nothing like that to worry about with IT, legally, practically
anybody can do practically anything.

4) No unions to fuss with. Replace all the IT workers you want with visa
workers, then send the entire department offshore. No need to worry about union

5) No standardization in IT. You can always tell the government there is a
shortage of qualified workers, since there is absolutely no definition of what
is "qualified." You have a virtual carte blanche to make up any kind of
statistics about salaries, or qualification. For example, you could look for
workers with an arbitrary list of experience requirements, and when you don't
find them, use that as an excuse to hire offshore workers with no experience,
and just a liberal arts degree.

6) US IT workers are not represented by any professional organization, and
therefore have no voice in congress. Dump on IT workers all you want, what's to
stop you?

7) Due to massive corporate propaganda, it is widely believed there is a
shortage of qualified US IT workers, so nobody will blame you for going
offshore. There was significant public outcry in the 1980s when manufacturing
was moved offshore. Michael Moore even created a movie, and Billy Joel wrote a
song. Nobody cares about spoiled IT workers.

8) You can point to contributions made by actual immigrants, and then prentend
that H1Bs are actual immigrants. Great PR.

9) You can place the race card. You can say that anybody critical of replacing
US workers with offshore is a racist, bigoted, and xenophobic; and thereby,
immediately quash any dissention.

10) US IT workers are too spineless, selfish, arrogant, and disorganized, to put
up any sort of meaningful resistance to your offshoring plans. Take your time,
when you start importing visa workers, only the workers who are directly
affected will care. The guy in the next cubical won't care until his head is on
the chopping block. US IT workers have a special trick of sticking their noses
in the air, and their heads in the sand. US IT workers will say: "they could
never do without me. I'm much too valuable. Only the poorly qualified lose their
jobs." Dumping on US IT workers is like shooting fish in a barrel.

11) Significant saving. US IT workers can be quite expensive.

12) Indentured servant status is even more important for IT workers, than other
workers. Everybody's information system setup is different, so it takes a while
for IT workers to learn their jobs. US workers can quit just after they get up
to speed. Which means you are training people for their next job. Worse yet,
they can take what they have learned (on your dime) to your competitors. With
visa workers, they have to stay with you for six years, then you can send them
to your offshore operations.

12) Most IT workers don't work directly with the public, so unlike helpdesk
stuff, you don't have to worry about complaints about accents, or anything like

13) Most of the work can easily be done offshore, and you don't have to be a big
employer to take advantage of it. I cannot hire a plummer for $2 an hour, but I
can go on rentacoder and hire a web-developer for that.

14) Technologies like romoting in, and video confrencing get better all the