Monthly Archives: December 2004

Perilous Times

Geof Stone, author of In Perilous Times and law professor at the University of Chicago, is guest blogging on Lawrence Lessig’s blog. He has some interesting thoughts on war and the suspension of civil rights. He already has several blog entries about various American wars, starting at the Civil War. The comments on the entries are interesting as well. Even if you disagree with him, it is quite thought provoking.


  • NYTimes: Court Upholds Patent Ruling Against Maker of BlackBerryA United States appeals court upheld a finding of patent infringement against Research In Motion Ltd. yesterday, but struck down part of the ruling and sent it back to a lower court for further proceedings. Shares of Research In Motion, which makes the BlackBerry data device, soared more than 10 percent on news that a decision had been reached. Those gains were erased after the court released details of the decision. Trading in Research in Motion was then halted, with shares on the Nasdaq closing down $4.65 to $85.44.
  • Go Google Blue!

    • University of Michigan: Google/U-M project opens the way to universal access to information  Google and the University of Michigan today (Tuesday Dec 14, 2004) announced a joint agreement that will add the 7 million volumes in the U-M library to the Google search engine and open the way to universal access to information… Google will digitally scan and make searchable virtually the entire collection of the U-M library. A person looking for information will gain the extraordinary capability to use Google to locate and read the full text of printed works that are out of copyright. For works in copyright, a search will point the way to the existence of relevant volumes by returning a snippet of text, along with information that identifies publishers or libraries where the work can be found.

    This is a great way for a traditionally brick & mortar service (libraries) to expand their services into the digital age.  Many public libraries are worried about continued readership as most people do a great deal of their research online, turning only to books after their preliminary research is done.  Libraries are becoming places people go to read and use the internet, but as universal internet access expands, that too is at risk.  By making their resources searchable over the web, libraries are connecting into the power of the internet and also using it to drive traffic back to their doors when people find a book they need.

    Online gaming on the beach – sign me up!

    •  Wireless network smashes world speed record  A new world record has been set for transmitting data across a wireless network, claim researchers in Germany. A team at Siemens Communications research laboratory in Munich, have transmitted one gigabit (one billion bits) of data per second across their mobile network. By contrast, the average wireless computer network can send only around 50 megabits (50 million bits) of data per second.

    Networking gets very exciting when wires are not involved.  The air solves lots of issues with hardware costs and maintenance.  Plus the frill of mobility is wonderful.  All I want is one cellular/mobile/ISP service so that my phone and computer can use the same service and I can be connected as much as I want from anywhere I want.  Is that so much to ask?  Of course not, but I want all that without costing a fortune in devices/hardware/monthly costs.  Ah well, the future is always closer than we expect.

    Maybe Someone Needs to Cut Up Their Credit Card?

    • The EconomistThe disappearing dollar THE dollar has been the leading international currency for as long as most people can remember. But its dominant role can no longer be taken for granted. If America keeps on spending and borrowing at its present pace, the dollar will eventually lose its mighty status in international finance. And that would hurt: the privilege of being able to print the world’s reserve currency, a privilege which is now at risk, allows America to borrow cheaply, and thus to spend much more than it earns, on far better terms than are available to others. Imagine you could write cheques that were accepted as payment but never cashed. That is what it amounts to. If you had been granted that ability, you might take care to hang on to it. America is taking no such care, and may come to regret it.

    So while normal people have a hard time making their mortgage payments and getting by, and we have executives running around swindling money from stock holders, the US govt is no better with their rampant credit abuse.  Maybe it’s time for someone to cut up their cards…

    IBM is out – or is it really?

    • PRNewswire: CHINA’S LENOVO BUYS IBM’S PC UNIT FOR $1.25 BLN BEIJINGChina’s largest personal computer maker, Lenovo Group Ltd., said on Wednesday it is buying control of IBM’s PC-making business for US$1.25 billion, capping the U.S. tech giant’s gradual withdrawal from the business it helped pioneer in 1981. The agreement, which forms the world’s third largest PC business, calls for Lenovo to pay IBM $650 million in cash, $600 million in Lenovo Group common stock and for Lenovo to assume $500 million in net balance sheet liabilities from IBM. IBM will hold an 18.9 per cent stake in Lenovo.

    Yes, IBM is withdrawing from the PC market and focusing on its service industries.  However, this deal gives them a major share in the Chinese market, which is likely to be the fastest growing PC market in the world.  IBM will continue their R&D efforts and still contribute to the future of the industry.  This is a good scheme to get out the US PC market where they will have a hard time making any majors gains, and at the same time give them a stake in the future of the PC market in China.  Big Blue is anything but stupid.