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HTMLfixIT Archive for September, 2004




Tuesday, September 7th, 2004 by Franki

This site has covered stupid computer related patents for some time now, so here is another one to add to the list.

In short, Microsoft has just been granted a patent for the practise of using the tab key to navigate down links on a web page.

My impression was that patents were supposed to be “non obvious” processes, and yet the simple and long-standing process of tabbing though the various fields of a window, when applied to a web site, suddenly merits a patent? When oh when is the patent office going to get some Tech knowledgeable reviewers? (Also they should stop trying to run a government service department at a profit.)

I’ll say it again, there is dumb, there is dumber, and then there is the US patent office. Their department logo should read “Helping Microsoft maintain it’s convicted predatory monopoly status.”

Read the story in detail at The Register.

Regards

Franki

No Comments »

Monday, September 6th, 2004 by Don

California MCLE, CLE and Continuing Legal Education is a neat site, it has many many sample contracts. For example use the search feature to look for Microsoft and SCO, or find leases for real estate by Amazon.com. Fun to look around.

No Comments »

Monday, September 6th, 2004 by Franki

Not too long ago, I wrote about a case in the US where a guy was reading the e-mail of his clients, and was subsequently found to be innocent of any illegal activity. Well, the ruling has some even scarier implications and it’s those implications that have lead to a privacy group and the US Justice Department working toward the same end. The end in question, is of course stopping it from being legal for ISP’s to snoop on clients e-mail.

Wired news have covered this story in detail, so rather then duplicate their work, I’ll simply direct you to their article here.

Regards

Franki

No Comments »

Sunday, September 5th, 2004 by Franki

Having seen many recent discussions about how to go about password protecting directories on your web host, I decided to see what could be done to help make the process a little easier.

Since many web hosts only offer FTP access, (no shell) it makes it rather difficult to use the shell command htpasswd to create new users for the passworded directory. This new script creates both .htaccess and .htpasswd files, and fills in all the blanks for you, so all you need to do is answer the questions, download the files it creates and upload them to your host. Nice and easy.

The new script is available here: Online .htaccess generator tool.

If anyone has feedback on anything I should change or add, please use the “contact us” link in the main menu to drop us a line.

Regards

Franki

No Comments »

Saturday, September 4th, 2004 by Franki

There is nothing particularly new about this issue, but I’ve collected enough stories on the subject to warrant another attack against software patents. The more people that know just how dangerous they are, the more likely that someone in power will notice and do something about it. (or at the very least, stop some even worse law from being added by inept un-knowledgeable politicians trying to get votes, and listening to paid industry lobbyists.)

Big companies like IBM and Microsoft love software patents, they can use them for two primary reasons, one is as a defence; If someone litigates against you, they should make sure that they are not infringing any of your patents or they will face a counter suit. And as an attack; If a competitor is taking market share from you, and you want to turn the tables, finding a patent infringement and litigating for damages is often a useful way to get started. IBM has one of the biggest patent portfolios, but to the best of my knowledge they only use it for litigation defence and licensing. Microsoft has a huge and growing patent portfolio, and thus far have really only used it for defence and licensing as well. Although there is much speculation that they will be using it to attack Open Source software like Linux, Samba, Apache, Mozilla and OpenOffice.org. In some ways they are already using it to fight open source as can be seen in the recent SenderID anti-spam issue covered here.

The question people should be asking, is: Should patents be granted for things like “Double clicking your mouse button” or the local collection of registration information which is later uploaded to a remote server, or a Window containing a “to-do” list. and online voting systems?

(more…)

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Friday, September 3rd, 2004 by Don

I love Google. At the bottom of a recent Google search up pops a promo for Picasa. It said:

You can find any image you want on the Web. How about on your own computer?
Albums. Editing. Printing. Sharing.
Try Picasa, Google’s new photo organizer.
Free Download!

Now I have to tell you, it looked good when I hit the product features page.

(more…)

No Comments »

Friday, September 3rd, 2004 by Don

Maxthon is a powerful web browser with a highly customizable interface. It is based on the Internet Explorer engine (your most likely current web browser) which means that what works in IE, works the same in Maxthon but with many additional efficient features … ” Interesting to me, after reading one of Franki’s posts on here saying a certain MicroSoft Employee uses Firefox, that employee supposedly says that is a mischaracterization in his blog (I have yet to figure out how we know who’s blog it is — oh now I get it I go here). He apparently now says he has a copy of FireFox running, but he does that only to keep tabs on the competition as it isn’t on his primary machine. The article I found where he supposedly explains further says he uses Maxthon. Well does that further help or hurt the case that Internet Explorer as released by MicroSoft isn’t all that? I myself usually run two or three browsers to compare the look of web pages in them. It makes sense he would do the same to keep up on the latest, but why Maxthon … because the stock version lacks useability features!

(more…)

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