August 15, 2006

Opening an Architecture for Innovation? [8:43 am]

Should be interesting to see how (if?) this develops: Trolltech offers fully reprogrammable mobile phone - pdf

Norway’s Trolltech AS has demonstrated the first fully reprogrammable mobile handset to help phone designers innovate as fast as their counterparts in the personal computer industry have done.

A major divide that separates PCs from mobile telephones is that while designers can freely reprogram a computer’s software, most of a phone’s functions are fixed at the factory.

[...] The phone is not aimed at consumers, but would allow a wide audience of designers to create new features for future mobile phones.

While the Greenphone, which is due out in September, opens up the field of mobile phone development to small design firms and individuals, it gives large organizations a fully functioning test environment with which to develop new models.

“(Independent) developers are having a hard time figuring out how to participate in the mobile phone market,” Benoit Schillings, Trolltech’s chief technology officer, said in an interview after a news conference to unveil the phone on Monday.

Of course, innovation can be many things — Don’t Believe That Lying Telephone

Telephony these days is a perfect storm of fraud-friendly technologies, and the public is ill-prepared for it. With computers, at least they have been trained to know that there’s a lot of fraud, but everyone has grown up with telephones, and fraud in the system is not a fact of everyday life. When it all shakes out it could be much worse in impact than computer phishing.

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OT: Asking Uncomfortable Questions [7:10 am]

Has Bush v. Gore Become the Case That Must Not Be Named?

The ruling that stopped the Florida recount and handed the presidency to George W. Bush is disappearing down the legal world’s version of the memory hole, the slot where, in George Orwell’s “1984,” government workers disposed of politically inconvenient records. The Supreme Court has not cited it once since it was decided, and when Justice Antonin Scalia, who loves to hold forth on court precedents, was asked about it at a forum earlier this year, he snapped, “Come on, get over it.”

There is a legal argument for pushing Bush v. Gore aside. The majority opinion announced that the ruling was “limited to the present circumstances” and could not be cited as precedent. But many legal scholars insisted at the time that this assertion was itself dictum — the part of a legal opinion that is nonbinding — and illegitimate, because under the doctrine of stare decisis, courts cannot make rulings whose reasoning applies only to a single case.

Bush v. Gore’s lasting significance is being fought over right now by the Ohio-based United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, whose judges disagree not only on what it stands for, but on whether it stands for anything at all. This debate, which has been quietly under way in the courts and academia since 2000, is important both because of what it says about the legitimacy of the courts and because of what Bush v. Gore could represent today. The majority reached its antidemocratic result by reading the equal protection clause in a very pro-democratic way. If Bush v. Gore’s equal protection analysis is integrated into constitutional law, it could make future elections considerably more fair.

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YouTube and Viral Marketing [7:02 am]

Advertising: Agencies Are Watching as Ads Go Online

It is the mock ads that are capturing the attention of ad agencies, which are slowly becoming used to having their work transformed from a slick, polished television spot into a mock ad reminiscent of a spoof from “Saturday Night Live.”

“I consider it the highest form of flattery to show up on YouTube,” said Matt Lindley, an executive creative director at Arnold Worldwide in Boston, an advertising agency that is owned by Havas.

[...] If an agency does not like a video circulating on YouTube, there isn’t much that can be done to stop it, Mr. Benjamin conceded.

“It’s a tough situation because as a brand you don’t want to go out there and censor people,” he said. “You just have to let it happen sometimes and be brave enough with the brand to give room for the good stuff to happen.”

Still, ad agencies can’t resist trying to manipulate sites like YouTube and Google Video to their own advantage.

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