November 25, 2006
Stupid Patent Tricks
EEKid writes to the Farber list:
McDonald's puts patent on sandwiches.
McDonald's wants to own the rights to how a sandwich is made.
The fast-food chain has applied for a patent relating to the 'method and apparatus' used to prepare the snack.
The burger company says owning the 'intellectual property rights' would help its hot deli sandwiches look and taste the same at all of its restaurants.
It also wants to cut down on the time needed to put together a sandwich, thought to have been dreamt up by the Earl of Sandwich in 1762.
The 55-page patent, which has been filed in the US and Europe, covers the 'simultaneous toasting of a bread component'.
Garnishes of lettuce, onions and tomatoes, as well as salt, pepper and ketchup, are inserted into a cavity in a 'sandwich delivery tool'.
The 'bread component' is placed over the cavity and the assembly tool is inverted to tip out the contents. Finally, the filling is placed in the 'bread component'.
It explains: 'Often the sandwich filling is the source of the name of the sandwich; for example, ham sandwich.'
Lawrence Smith-Higgins, of the UK Patent Office, said: 'McDonald's or anyone else cannot get retrospective exclusive rights to making a sandwich.
'They might have a novel device, but it could be quite easy for someone to make a sandwich in a similar way without infringing their claims.'
McDonald's said: 'These applications are not intended to prevent anyone from using previous methods for making sandwiches.'
Is there any question that patents and intellectual property issues generally have gotten totally stupid? I mean, I know it's not software, where patents there have gotten totally stupid, but sandwiches? Prior art!
Two sided toasting of bread.. that's called a toaster. OMG.
November 13, 2006
I talked with my mother this morning, and she told me she's been taking Mandarin since June. My parents travel a lot, and spent the month of September in China. She said that it was really hard learning the characters (she knows 6 languages, but they are all European, latin based languages). But walking around in China , she could converse and understand people.
One interesting thing, she said she started out online with the Rosetta Stone system, and lasted a month. She is on dialup a lot, because of their travel schedule, and lack of easy wifi networking on their window's machine (I suggested a Mac to solve that, and the digital photo sharing issues they also have). Rosetta Stone just wasn't set up well, she thought, for a dial up user, because the files were so big and the assumptions were all about the always-on mindset. And there were no "hooks" for her, since her lack of experience with that kind of language didn't give her the cultural context to frame the language around it.
She hit on the idea of trying the SF public library. They have an apartment in SF so it was easy. She buzzed down, and took a course that was made by a professor at Hayward, who set up the structure entirely around cultural explanations and frameworks so she hooked right in, figured out what was going on, and was speaking in simple terms in two months. Then the trip to China, with some small successes in conversations with people there. And now she's really excited about learning more.
She still says the character recognition at her age (68) is hard, but she's really into it and planning the next trip over there.
November 12, 2006
Dabble is Video Search
Note: Dabble is a company I founded a year and a half ago.
Have you noticed that there's a formula out there, for Flickr-like sites, that, instead of providing social networking around pictures, try to do it for podcasts or videos. Examples include Odeo, Podshow, Dabble.
While I absolutely love Flickr, Dabble is *not like* an image hosting site. Just to be absolutely clear, Flickr, Odeo and Podshow either *host* or *make* content. They do not search all images, or all audio, or across video or even the web. Sites that would be comparable to Flickr include YouTube, VSocial, Revver, Blip.tv, and the other 300 hosting sites for video that Dabble searches. There is a very big difference between a site that creates or hosts content, and search engines.
Dabble searches all video content across all hosters, as well as other sites on the web, and we continue adding more results to our search engine every day.
As to the second point in the Scripting News post:
However, none of them are gaining traction like Flickr did, and I think I now understand why. A picture is something you can appreciate at web speed. Go to a page with a photo on it, and it loads slightly slower than a page without a picture. Hit the Back button, leave a comment, link to it, whatever you want to do, it's all over quickly and that fits the pace of the web. However, podcasts and videos don't work like that. It takes a long time to "consume" one of those media objects. So why did YouTube catch on? Simple -- free storage.
Dabble launched 3 months ago, and is doing just fine. Flickr launched 2.5 years ago, Podshow and Odeo launched well over a year, and while I don't know their stats or situation, I would also imagine that they are in different spots as well, though without knowing or asking I won't assume they are doing well or not. Since Dave didn't ask us where we are after 3 months, I'm assuming he didn't ask them either.
Regardless, I want to be sure that we are understood as a video search with a social community around search and are doing just fine, thanks.
November 07, 2006
The Future of Video
YouTube has done a terrific job of leading the way for video 1.0 online, where watching is everything. But as people get more comfortable with watching video online, the old broadcast relationship they had to content changes, and they start to want more. What do users need for video 2.0 where watching is just a part of the story, where remixing and online editing, arranging, playlisting, searching, and most importantly, discovery through other sources are expected by users? What are the barriers and what is being done now to make regular users into power users, and give everyone more control and access than just watching in an on-demand style?
Come join us if you are at the conference. Should be a great discussion!
Update: Here is a Wired blog post on the session.
November 06, 2006
The Best Blog Post goes to....
Sorry.. that was left over from the Vloggies.
Guy Kawasaki says this is one of the best blog posts, and as a truffle and wine lover, and someone who loves fun media, well, I say WOW! too.
Look now, look now!