Archive for August, 2011

Oh, how far we’ve come.

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MTV, along with the rest of the music industry, discusses the internet in 1995.  Get ready to see the less wrinkled versions of your favorite rock stars.  Bonus:  A downright coherent Ozzy Osbourne.

If there was ever an article that Congress needs to read…

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… it’s this one.

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich by Warren E. Buffett.

One question that I think should be asked… Who is coddling the coddlers?

The day our government somehow got its shit together.

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You know a government is dysfunctional when the New York Times Op-ed page starts accepting fanfiction.

That is an accurate description of  a piece of writing by Thomas Friedman, an author whom I respect and admire, even when I don’t agree with him.  The only way this article could extend beyond the realm of fantasy that it is already in would be to inject an element of porn.

This may be a cynical view to take, but from what I’ve seen, “bipartisan agreement” is right up there with “the check’s in the mail,” and “I’ll respect you in the morning.”

Just cause I felt like it…

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Here’s Robert Cray with David Sanborn on the Letterman Show.

Putting the national debt into perspective.

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The total debt of the United States is about 14.5 trillion dollars.  That’s this much:  $14,500,000,000,000.  Now that total amount is the result of a lot of things, but one of the things that contributed to it is bailouts.  Bailouts for banks, for failing industries, Wall Street, etc.

In order to issue a bailout, Congress has to first debate and then enact legislation to allow disbursement of that money.  Surprisingly, there is one part of our government that has access to the U.S. Treasury that can just give it away.  And that they did… to the tune of $16,000,000,000,000.

Here is a partial list of the recipients of the Fed’s largess.

Google makes potentially costly patent mistake.

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Yesterday, Google Sr. Veep and Chief Counsel David Drummond posted what amounts to the Silicon Valley version of a hissy fit on Google‘s official blog.  His complaint?  That Microsoft and Apple are teaming up to try to stifle Android by using what Drummond refers to as “bogus patents.”

The patents being referred to here are patents owned by Novell that Microsoft and Apple are jointly bidding on.   If they were to be successful, it would impact Android because technology covered by those patents is being used in Google smartphones.   Google, naturally, is not thrilled about this.  Drummonds screed would not be so much justified, but you could at least understand it… were it not for the fact that Google indeed had an opportunity to bid on these patents.  Not only did it have the opportunity to bid and not put one forth, it was invited to bid jointly with Microsoft and turned that down as well.

Twitter is something that I personally think is a complete waste of time 99% of the time.  It’s the 1% in situations like this that it becomes like a train wreck… you can’t not look.  Brad Smith, Drummond’s counterpart at Microsoft, tweeted this in response to Drummond:

Brad Smith

Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.
Ouch!  Now normally, in the absence of anything substantive, this would descend into the back and forth of he-said/he-said triviality, except that Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s head communications guy, tweeted this:
Frank X. Shaw
Free advice for David Drummond – next time check with Kent Walker before you blog.
The link goes to the text of an email sent by Kent Walker, another Sr. Veep and big-shot attorney for Google sent to Brad Smith (see previous tweet) regarding Microsoft’s invitation to bid on the same patents extended to Google in October of 2010. 
Brad –
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you — I came down with a 24-hour bug on the way back from San Antonio. After talking with people here, it sounds as though for various reasons a joint bid wouldn’t be advisable for us on this one. But I appreciate your flagging it, and we’re open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future.
I hope the rest of your travels go well, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
– Kent
If the first tweet was the slap in the face, the email was the punch to the gut that knocked the wind out of the whole argument.
Will Android be greatly affected by this?  Only if Google is stupid enough to fight this out in court, which they don’t, and only if Microsoft and Apple want long and protracted legal battles, which they don’t, so I doubt it.  I foresee an out-of-court settlement… maybe an agreement where the technology in question can be licensed.  Something like that.  It will cost Google though.  It never ceases to amaze me that when you are peeing in the tall grass with the big dogs in an industry that relies as much on idea theft as it does on innovation, the stakes are very high, and a seemingly innocuous email that simply said, in effect, “No thanks,” can cost your company billions of dollars.  That’s big money even in Google/Microsoft/Apple dollars.  Welcome to Pirates of Silicon Valley II:  Electric Googaloo.