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Mar 25, 2012 at 11:04
We have spent some time in these pages decrying the state of US Patents in one form or another. Supporting innovative thinking is a key element in the development of our society; it is a process that needs to be rewarded, and the patent system should be doing its part to provide those benefits to individuals and companies, although some inventions that should be patent protected are simply too esoteric to fit the mold. Where patents are issued, however, they should have been examined properly – particularly as to prior art – which is something that seems to simply not be done properly anymore.
The news that a company in New York is suing Samsung and Research In Motion for patent infringements over the use of emoticons should maybe not come as a surprise in today’s environment, but it still makes the brain tickle in a bit of wonder.
Varia Holdings claims in two separate suits that Samsung and RIM are in violation of their patent 7,167,731, “Emoticon input method and apparatus” d...
Mar 17, 2012 at 9:16
Armageddon, the site of the battle of the "End Times" (in the Bible), is just nine months hence. We know this because a bunch of smart people have said so with pointers to the Mayans and the I-Ching (pronounced ‘yee-jing’) prophecies. And we know they are smart because they have told us they are…
The Mayan thing is now well known. On December 21, 2012 the Mayan calendar ends. It will be the finish of the five ages: water, air, fire, earth, and, currently, gold. We are told that there will be major upheavals because of the reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field caused by an axis shift. Various causes have been suggested but they are all very far-fetched.
I-Ching is not really a predictive art. It has been espoused in China for thousands of years more as a way of suggesting how to react to circumstances. True to form, however, it has been used to also predict the end of the world, and, by a strange coincidence, it is also December 21, 2012.
The end of humanity has been pred...
Mar 11, 2012 at 11:15
Living with a parasitic protozoa like malaria in your blood is like having a ticking time bomb inside you that is anxious to explode when you are least expecting it. I had an uncle, a Catholic priest, who died of malaria in Portland, Oregon, when his seven-year outbreak occurred while he was very weak from ‘deep X-ray’ treatment for lung cancer. He contracted his version of the disease in a prisoner of war camp in the Philippines where he was incarcerated with Americans. His Japanese gaolers had decided that his Irish passport read Iceland, not Ireland, and he was therefore an ally and not a neutral. He was, fortunately, rescued by the Americans in a daring operation behind enemy lines shortly before all the inmates were due to be executed and he was dropped on the Oregon coast at Reedsport – a town that was much later to become my home town.
I don’t know for sure where I got malaria. I was always pretty good about taking my little pills (usually chloroquine) before traveling and duri...
Mar 11, 2012 at 11:08
Today’s power management solutions deliver increased power, greater efficiency, programmability and higher integration while residing in smaller packages, enabling more sophisticated power management abilities for new applications that require them.
Advances in power management – such as dramatically lower power requirements and much smaller ICs – did not take place overnight. For example, just a half dozen years ago, linear regulators were the choice of many board level designers as they were simple to use and required little to no power design expertise. Combined with the low cost of linear solutions, this simplicity made linear regulators the voltage regulator of choice, while switching regulators were relegated to higher output loads requiring better efficiency.
Today, numerous factors make switching regulators more prevalent, and relevant, for many emerging applications. First, better power dissipation leads to the elimination of special power packages and heat sinks reducing total co...
Mar 4, 2012 at 3:04
Apple Corporation has been an extremely good citizen in its payments of US income tax, although that has not stopped the company from reducing its liability as much as it can. In its year ending September 26, 2009, it allowed for a tax bill of $3.831 billion on its net income of $12.066 billion: 31.8%. That dropped in the two later years to just over 24%, with $4.527 billion taxes on $18.540 billion income in 2010, and $8.283 billion taxes on $34.205 billion income in 2011. The only other electronics manufacturer who seems to even approach this level of citizenship is Intel. On the other hand, companies like Amazon paid less than an 8% tax rate in those same three years. And a large number of companies on the Fortune 500 list, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, paid no federal taxes at all in recent years.
Doubtless there are legal methods and justifications for avoidance of tax liabilities as a corporation, but they all leave a somewhat bad taste in the mouth of those taxpayers who ...