Patent for podcasting? Seriously?

A company you’ve probably never heard of before announced today that it has been awarded a patent on podcasting. VoloMedia was awarded U.S. Patent 7,568,213  titled "Method for Providing Episodic Media" yesterday. I think the fact that VoloMedia’s Murgesh Navar posted an entry defending the patent before anyone even knew about it underscores just how silly it is.

Here’s what Dave Winer wrote today in response:

I’m certainly not a lawyer or an expert in patent law, but it seems the work Adam Curry and I did in creating the format and protocol for podcasting, in 2001, may have inspired their "invention." It certainly predates it.

Honestly it boggles my mind how software patents are awarded. First of all, VoloMedia applied for the patent in November 2003. Why did it take nearly six years for it to be decided? It’s a cliche, but that’s an eternity on the Internet. Second of all, how could the patent office not discover prior art within those six years? It’s just ridiculous.

According to NewTeeVee, VoloMedia is in talks with Apple and TV networks, among others, “about growing the business and market.” Seriously? I hope VoloMedia fails fast. I really dislike companies that exist solely to sue other companies for violating patents they should never have been awarded in the first place. That’s exactly what VoloMedia is becoming.

For more, check out Ars Technica. Here’s to hoping that VoloMedia’s patent is invalidated.

Speeding just isn't what it used to be!

Post ImageNormally when I hear someone talking about GPS, I think directions. You know, the gadget you have in your car that tells you where to turn left. Like most electronics however, there are cheap GPS units and top-of-the-line GPS units. Like the one Shaun Malone’s parents installed in his car:

GPS tracking systems like the one in Malone’s car are becoming an increasingly popular way for parents to keep tabs on their kids, an outgrowth of the initial use of such devices in car fleets and trucking. Many consumer-oriented GPS navigation systems also have these capabilities, but Malone’s was hardcore: the system would even e-mail his parents in the event that he drove too fast.

Try explaining that one when you get home! Your parents would know you’re speeding before you do!

Anyway, the great part about this story is that Shaun and his retired sheriff father are using data from the GPS unit to contest a speeding ticket:

While many GPS systems don’t log travel details extensively enough to be used as a defense against a moving violation, Malone’s car was outfitted with a device that could do just that. According to Rude, all recorded plots on Malone’s route show him to be driving under the speed limit.

Kinda takes the fun out of speeding, doesn’t it? I don’t really care if they win their case or not, but I do like it when new technology challenges the status quo!

Who knew GPS units could do so much?!

Read: ArsTechnica

Cisco sues Apple over iPhone

Post ImageI knew it was too good to be true. Turns out Apple did not manage to work out a deal with Cisco, who currently owns the “iPhone” trademark, and today they were sued by the network-equipment manufacturer:

Cisco filed the lawsuit Wednesday seeking injunctive relief to prevent Apple from copying Cisco’s iPhone trademark.

“We certainly expected that since they had gone ahead and announced a product without receiving permission to use the brand, that meant that the negotiation was concluded,” said Mark Chandler, Cisco senior vice president and general counsel.

Obviously I am not an expert on trademarks or anything, but I think it’s pretty amazing that Apple is “very confident” they will prevail. Too bad Apple is so tight-lipped, or we might be able to learn their side of the story.

Read: Yahoo News