Software patents stifle innovation

I originally posted this to the G+ app on the tablet, but have rewritten large parts of it here.

I was reading an article linked below on the tablet when I clicked a little “sharing” icon in my browser which passed the link to another application (G+). According to a recent ruling, you won’t be able to buy an HTC android device that can do that after April, 2012 (unless HTC figures out another way to do it) because Apple says they patented the technique in 1996. Apple was making Newtons and Power PCs running MacOS in 1996. The patent diagram even includes a floppy drive!. How ludicrous is it to try to apply a technique developed for an operating system long since abandoned (in favor of a open source unix OS) to shut down the use of a “similar” technique in an open source unix OS (android) developed 15 years later? Ironic because you have one company (Apple) which has built its last 10 years of success on top of an open source OS (OSX from BSD Unix) and is claiming another company can’t use some little piece of open source code because its similar to something they got rid of because it sucked?

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Still no Mac virus

As far as I can tell from some quick research, there are still no true Mac viruses, a friend’s recent comment that there is a virus that can be installed on a Mac without user intervention does not appear to be correct. While the software in question can run automatically, if a certain option is enabled, and so then pop up a window which looks legitimate, the software can’t actually be installed on a Mac without user action (more below). If true, this is quite amazing considering that Macs have become fairly popular for home use (where there generally aren’t IT folks working to protect people from themselves all day like in the business world). There *are* several variants of a TROJAN which can be installed on a Mac but only through user intervention (requires the user to enter the admin password to install the software).

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Reading gedcom files

The other night I was having a fantastic time with some friends after a barbeque and the subject of family history came up. I had pulled some old photographs off the walls and we were talking about this and that character in the photo and when someone asked the question, I realized I had no idea what year my grandfather had been born. “No problem”, I said, “I’ll just fire up the Mac and call up my website – I have this awesome software running that I share with the family with lists and graphs and everything, we’ll just look it up!” Seconds later I was staring at the screen wondering what had happened to my data. I couldn’t log into my own site and all my family data was inaccessible.

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