June 30, 2003

2003 June 30 [1:47 am]

(entry last updated: 2003-06-30 02:08:42)

Cheating on time, I guess, since it’s still yesterday here in California…

  • The NYTimes discusses the conflicts around "trusted computing:" A Safer System for Home PC’s Feels Like Jail to Some Critics [pdf]

    The most interesting suggestion of this article is that Apple may be electing to use its choice to echew DRM hardware (in favor of software) may end up being used as a competitive threat to the Wintel platform - a very clever move, if true, since I know that I will definitely vote with my wallet on this issue.

    But by entwining PC software and data in an impenetrable layer of encryption, critics argue, the companies may be destroying the very openness that has been at the heart of computing in the three decades since the PC was introduced. There are simpler, less intrusive ways to prevent illicit file swapping over the Internet, they say, than girding software in so much armor that new types of programs from upstart companies may have trouble working with it.

    [...] “Microsoft’s use of the term `trusted computing’ is a great piece of doublespeak,” said Dan Sokol, a computer engineer based in San Jose, Calif., who was one of the original members of the Homebrew Computing Club, the pioneering PC group. “What they’re really saying is, `We don’t trust you, the user of this computer.’ ”

    [...] How consumers will react to the new technology is a thorny question for PC makers because the new industry design stands in striking contrast to the approach being taken by Apple Computer.

    Apple has developed the popular iTunes digital music store relying exclusively on software to restrict the sharing of digital songs over the Internet.

    [...] Apple only has a tiny share of the personal computer market. But it continues to tweak the industry leaders with its innovations; last week, Apple’s chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, demonstrated a feature of the company’s newest version of its OS X operating system called FileVault, designed to protect a user’s documents without the need for modifying computer hardware.

    Mr. Jobs argued that elaborate hardware-software schemes like the one being pursued by the Trusted Computing Group will not achieve their purpose.

    Even the Darknet paper is cited.

  • Patents in the news: Protecting Ideas in the Insurance Business [pdf]

    In 1998, after hearing a legal challenge to a patent for a way of pooling mutual fund assets, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that methods of doing business could be patented. Since that ruling, known as the State Street Bank decision, applications for business-method patents have begun transforming the way products are created and marketed.

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