Saturday, August 06, 2005

Patently Brilliant examines some great designs from the US Patent and Trademark Office by looking at illustrations from patent applications from the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Truly great stuff.

One of my favorites is this hood ornament, which I believe I've seen as a spaceship in at least one movie.

Friday, August 05, 2005

USPTO aims at piracy of small business

An excellent new resource from the United States Patent and Trademark Office is the subsection of their site

They offer some nice descriptions of patents, trade and service marks, and copyright, and about how to protect your intellectual property.

Piracy, counterfeiting and the theft of intellectual property pose a serious threat to all U.S. businesses. Industry estimates of the cost of such theft range from $250 billion to 750,000 jobs per year. Small businesses often find themselves at a particular disadvantage because they often lack the resources and expertise available to larger corporations.

While you can find more detailed materials as the US Copyright Office, and the rest of the USPTO, this site is intended as part of an actual educational campaign with free seminars offered to small business owners to help them learn more about protecting their works.

(via a comment from Alan at Small Business Reading Room)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Why is RSS so hard for so many to use? Because we like it that way.

Is it hard for people to use RSS?

Difficult for people to set it up on their sites, or to subscribe to feeds, or to explain?

Cutting Through, in Fixing a 2% problem, acknowledges the possibility that many of us who "get" RSS, and know how to use it might like it that way.

By the way, what percentage of the web understands and uses IRC? Bet it's less than 2%

Spots are hard earned. Don't hide them.

They say they want recruits with "spotless records."
I say "the spots are what matter most."

Spend some time with Tom Peter's Tomato TomA[h]to.

As business manifestos go, it's a pretty good one.

MySpace and the Fox

Do social networks and Big Media mix?

It's a question that the many members of MySpace are asking after its purchase by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The web and the people who run it

Definitely worth the read, Kevin Kelly's essay on the growth of the internet: We Are the Web. My favorite passage was this one:

This dismissive attitude pervaded a meeting I had with the top leaders of ABC in 1989. I was there to make a presentation to the corner office crowd about this "Internet stuff." To their credit, they realized something was happening. Still, nothing I could tell them would convince them that the Internet was not marginal, not just typing, and, most emphatically, not just teenage boys. Stephen Weiswasser, a senior VP, delivered the ultimate putdown: "The Internet will be the CB radio of the '90s," he told me, a charge he later repeated to the press. Weiswasser summed up ABC's argument for ignoring the new medium: "You aren't going to turn passive consumers into active trollers on the Internet."

I was shown the door. But I offered one tip before I left. "Look," I said. "I happen to know that the address has not been registered. Go down to your basement, find your most technical computer guy, and have him register immediately. Don't even think about it. It will be a good thing to do." They thanked me vacantly. I checked a week later. The domain was still unregistered.

Though they are becoming more rare, there are still companies out there that dismiss the web way too quickly. Good thing. It leaves more room for us folks who run the internet. Millions and millions of us.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Microsoft Patents the World

I would have loved listening in on the discussions surrounding the creations of some recent Microsoft patents. I wonder if the inventors were laughing as they wrote these.

At the pace that the Redmond Washington Software company is moving, they might be able to patent everything in the world, within a few years. The New York Times covers the story in: Why Bill Gates Wants 3,000 New Patents.

My favorite is the patent for Custom Emoticons. Just lovely.

Why do we have patents, again?

Google to Lose its Tabs?

That's sort of what is hinted at in a new patent application from the Mountain View Monster of Search: Interface for a universal search

Wasn't too long ago that Amazon lost most of its tabs. (Great article on the History of Amazon's Tabs from Luke Wroblewski .)