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Friday, September 12, 2003

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Plugin Patent Lunacy

The latest pissing match|litigation| on Plug in Technology is threating to creat havoc across the internet for designers and developers, browser manfacturers, and not just limited to Internet Explorer.

The short snappy answer is to code without plugins.

-The 'rich media' folks are stroking out about now.....-

Alternatively we can put buttons all over sites and have surfers download files and load applications to run 'spiffy' presentations.

On the gripping hand we can ignore the entire mess and hope it goes away like the .gif thing did. None of which are likely, as the inertia in the design community is legion. Once a tool is adopted, 'there can be only one' .

Until there is a structural change in patentability criteria, this lunacy will continue. Software and Business method patents being issued daily in the US and the rest of the world following along is not going to allow this problem to fade into the sunset. Although the EU is looking closely at these types of patents.

The hardest part of making a structural change in patents is the 'bug' of Intellectual Property, This is a Bug and not a feature. See SCO vs IBM. Definition of patents as IP is the basis of a lot of companies wealth for accounting purposes, resulting in the whole cottage industry of IP litigation. The rich get lawyers, we get the shaft.

Software is more properly classified as a copyright issue, as the building blocks of 1's and 0's are not a patentable item. The best analogy here is the letters of the alphabet are not copyrightable, but the Great Novel is. That of course opens up the litigation floodgates like we are seeing in the Music Industry.

Business Method Patents are such an incredible oxymoron as to defy reality for most folks.

Getting involved on a grassroots, local, regional and international level in the political arena, which is the only proven method to create substantial change in laws, rules and regulations. This implies that that you are willing to go to the mat and make your legislators aware of how you feel, and work through email, snailmail, visits, and lobbyists with your mouth and your money, to create an environment where nothing else can get done until this issue is addressed.

We can email each other until the heat death of the universe, but until the folks who are 'in charge', and I use that term loosely, are hammered with this issue offering solutions and changes that are equitable, nothing will happen other than us emailing each other. And in the case of the plug-in litigation, pursuing careers in other fields.

Windows 2000 Pro

In my quest to stay ahead of the curve, I loaded Windows 2000 and put it through the lemurzone wringer. My test bed is an AMD 2.4 GHZ, 786 Mb. of PC2700 Ram, 64 MB Nvidia running DDR SDRAM at 250 MHZ core and 333MHZ on the bus. ATA100 HD's complete the ensemble. It is not a horsepower issue. The only thing 2000 does well is get email. It does that real fast. It does not crash or give you the blue screen of death. But when it locks up for 2-4 minutes at a time, this is not a good thing.

A lot of software upon installation puts itself in the startup group and in the system tray sucking resources from you. The commercials for these products take up to 4-5 minutes to load, which drives me crazy. Trying to kill the commercials is a major undertaking, after you load it up and kill a bazillion processes that do not need to be running, slamming a bumch of ports closed, installing SP4, and doing it again. Having to reboot after lockup sessions and it running checkdisk and building lost fragment files which consisted of image files from applications and from temp internet files, is equally annoying.

It failed. I am back to running Win98, and rebooting 4-10 times a day (which is older programs which are memory leakers) which is a hell of a lot faster than running win2000.


Hiding Content [Posted] 12/11/02

One of the re-occurring themes that appear on design lists is 'hiding content', or making one's code invisible. Most of the solutions just don't work. The internet is not about hiding stuff. But in the interest of fairness I can offer a proven method of hiding content.

p i x e l v i e w

Mitch Ratcliffe is definitely an other. The 21st century holds the promise of rich multimedia across the web. Mitch was blazing this trail in the 20th century. From code to finance.

p i x e l v i e w - behind the screen with Mitch Ratcliffe
read here - go there

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