Chris J Powell

Facebook vs. Google+, Patent Law is Bunk and iPad RedFlags

I decided to take a little break from my IT Role series to do a bit of venting with today’s Rant (it will be back tomorrow).  The world of Technology has been going through some shifts and chasms recently so I figured I would weigh in on some of the big news that has been happening.


Facebook vs. Google+

I was a late adopter of Facebook, it was nearly a year before I jumped into the the universes greatest time waster and social connector powerhouse, but once I did I got into it fast and was sucked into the world of social gaming in a big way.  Hours spent planting and picking crops, long term plans of global domination and yes I do still love to get my Blitz on!  But then came Google+ and I was lucky enough to get on board in the first 24 hours of the Invite Only Festival of fun and I must say…I like the Google minimalist realm!

Facebook is a solid platform and has reconnected me with many long lost friends, was an amazing social forum during the most recent Canadian Federal Election and as I eluded to has sucked the time out of more than one day with its plethora of games but I have enjoyed my time on the social media king…but I am a Google kinda guy and as its plus platform matures and builds…I think that much of the inner Geek in me will move away from Facebook.

I have become a big fan of the InfoGraphic recently and found this one on the website.  The search King from California has dominated the online advertising world for a very long time and with Google+ will be able to fund even more Geeky coolness with the revenues it generates from its dive into Social Media.

The second half of 2011 will be very interesting as these two behemoths compete for the hearts and minds of the world’s connected population but well…with 500,000 Android devices being activated and a Native Google+ App already available…will we see a Facebook Phone soon?


Patent Trolls Suck

Being connected to hundreds of news feeds is cool and keeps me up to date on multiple topics but one thing that has been the ire of my online reading for years now has been the very existence of a classification of Lawyer that is about 4 layers lower than the stereotypical ambulance chaser.  Patent Trolls are sucking the innovation out of technology at an alarming rate and it is really starting to TICK ME OFF.  Should developers and companies have their creations protected…ABSOLUTELY!

I am not saying that it is ok to steal someone elses idea and make it your own but come on…here is a list of RETARDED Patents that are just the tip of the iceberg of how dumb the idea of patent infringement is:

  • Microsoft holds a patent for navigating pages using Page Up and Page Down keys. Yes, the keys you have on your keyboard!
  • After a 10-year struggle, the United States Patent Office was convinced that Google’s Doodles (yes, the logo that changes on the front page of Google) deserves a patent.
  • Google has also actually managed to patent displaying patents (a service called Google Patents). Ironically, Google Patents can’t seem to find the Google patent for Google Patents.
  • Amazon was awarded a patent for online gift cards. They also patented the storing of credit-card and shipping info and then using it to facilitate online purchasing via a single click. Have you been shopping online lately?
  • Facebook was granted a patent for its “feed”, which is essentially a list of information.  Can you think of another major social network that is in clear violation?
  • IBM has patents for e-mail spam filters.  Pretty much every e-mail software nowadays has a spam filter built-in.
  • holds a patent of an online job search engine system. I guess is out of business.
  • Net2Phone was suing Skype for violating its “point-to-point internet protocol” patent. The problem is those protocols have been used everywhere from instant messengers to file sharing for years.
  • A California company called Intouch Group applied for a patent on a “network apparatus and method for preview of music products and compilation of market data” – in other words, a way for users to download samples of music before purchasing it. iTunes, anyone?

For the individual user…why should any of us care about these patents and the inevitable law suits that come from them?  Well lets use the Microsoft Patent on using the Page Up and Page Down keys.  If you develop a program that takes advantage of this feature found on EVERY keyboard then you could theoretically have to pay Microsoft to license this patent!

Companies have gone absolutely in the past year.  Lets look at some of the recent damage claims:

  • Oracle Corp is seeking damages “in the billions of dollars” from Google Inc in a patent lawsuit over the smartphone market, according to a court filing.
  • Apple sues Samsung for ‘copying’ the iPhone and iPad
  • Motorola slaps Microsoft with a pair of patent infringement lawsuits, says it’s such a shame

The list goes on and on does nothing but close down innovation and increase the price of the products that we use every day…a better system needs to exist and certain “functions” should not be patentable (THE UP AND DOWN KEYS COME ON!!!!)


iPad Red Flags in the Enterprise

A recent white paper from Gartner Research Analyst Leslie Fiering hightlights five key areas that Enterprises need to be focused on:

Security needs to be considered.

Really…I never would have thought that.  It is interesting that IT should consider Security when allowing an external device, not purchased, controlled or many times supported by the department directly into the corporate network.  in a quote from the report:

“For all intents and purposes, iPads and virtually all of today’s media tablets are unsecure endpoints.  This doesn’t diminish the value of the platform, but does means that none of the lessons learned on PCs about managing secure endpoints apply.”

Make sure you have appropriate licensing. 

This actually makes sense and may be a hidden threat.  When a department moved to Virtual Application Delivery they may have secured the proper license for the staff member to access the app from home but that may not have included the correct license on a Smart Phone, Tablet, Laptop, Netbook, TV etc that knowledge workers now have access to.

Virtualized apps can be tricky to use.

Oh my but again this is a pretty key consideration as the apps were not likely optimized for a touch screen and this could cause a lot of frustration.  The CEO may love his / her iPad but if they can not do what they want…its gonna be the fault of IT not the Application itself!

Global purchasing usually isn’t possible.

Another key point as Apple is consumer driven, I have had several clients express concern that there is no channel for them to go to and purchase 100 or 500 or 1000 iPads at a time and well…I haven’t been in a MacStore for a while but that would be a pain if you had to deal with a MacGeek and aren’t one yourself…I know all about it as the term “Fan Boy” starts to resonate in the back of my head again!

Formatting fidelity can vary when moving documents to and from an iPad.

I actually dealt with this very issue yesterday when I approached my VP for some assistance and pulled a single slide from a PowerPoint presentation and his exact words were “I hope our Decks look better than this, and this is just a problem on the iPad”

At the end of the day…What is being said is that 50% of the Red Flags on the iPad are about setting User Expectations and the other half are real issues that need to be addressed on an continual basis.  Is the iPad truly ready for the enterprise?  In certain situations yes…in others no.


Keep your Stick on the Ice


Chris J Powell


4 thoughts on “Facebook vs. Google+, Patent Law is Bunk and iPad RedFlags

  1. So weird what’s going on with Angry Birds and other programs/apps too apparently. Most will ask, What’s a patent troll? Not heard of them before myself but when people are scared of creating technological advances because they stand to get sued by patent trolls and that wipes out the value of any innovations they’ve made then the law has gone too far and needs to be reviewed. This is another area where it’s actually antisocial not having free legal aid available.

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