Archive for February 2013

Heading to Australia

A while back, the Australian Delphi Users’ Group put out a call for papers for a conference they were planning to hold in March of 2013.  I sent in a submission and it ended up getting accepted, so in about a month I’m going to be going to Australia! 😀

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Does Apple owe Jim McKeeth money?

Jim McKeeth, the RemObjects evangelist who runs, was a coworker of mine before he left for RO.  Another coworker just pointed me to a couple articles that mention his name.

Slide to unlock is not Apple’s patent

Smartphone Wars: Micron’s Slide-to-Unlock Patent

Apparently the patent office essentially just ruled that the infamous “slide to unlock” patent that Apple has been beating Samsung and other companies that make Android devices over the head with is actually invalid, because another company, Micron PC, invented it several years before Apple did.  And the name associated with Micron’s patent is Jim McKeeth.

Of course, when something like this happens, you wonder if it’s the same guy or not.  Sometimes people have the same name, you know.  But I did some checking, and it appears that he did used to work at Micron.

So, does Apple owe Jim McKeeth money for this bogus “innovation” that they’ve been extorting money from all sorts of smartphone companies over?  It would be deliciously ironic if they did.

Jim, if you’re reading this, would you mind leaving a comment on the subject?

Fun with voice control

It was my brother’s birthday a few days ago.  The family got together and we took him out to dinner at a restaurant nearby.  I’d just gotten a new car a few weeks back, and he hadn’t seen it yet, so I told him to hop in and I’d drive him over.

The car’s a new model and it has a bunch of cool electronics, and they’re all controllable by a touchscreen on the dash, or by voice control.  There’s a little toggle on the steering wheel, and when you hit it, it makes a tone and a voice says  “please say a command,” and then it listens for something it recognizes.  It works about as well as you’d expect from modern voice control systems, and there’s a lot of room for improvement, but it’s still pretty cool.

Anyway, when I turned it on, the radio was running.  My taste in music and his differ pretty significantly, and I decided to prank him a little.  It was dark already, and I surreptitiously hit the toggle button, while at the same time saying “Computer!” in a very clear, slightly raised voice.

*ding* “Please say a command!”

“Radio off.”

*ding* The radio turned off.

My brother looked at me and he’s all, “Woah.  It’s like on Star Trek!”

“Yeah, I know. Isn’t it cool?”

I never did tell him about the toggle switch.  He’ll find out eventually…