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- Yes, it’s true, episode 192 (last week) was a lame attempt at an April Fool’s joke. This could have been caught if you noticed the mention of Touchstone starting up. Dave also did an April Fool’s video, but released it early in order to increase trickery!
- Adam Carolla is taking the fight to the patent trolls! You can support the fight too by participating in their fundraising campaign.
- Chris got a Sparkfun meter (contraband!) at his local Microcenter.
- Bunnie gave a talk at EELive about OSHW and the slowing of Moore’s law.
- He also showed the newest prototype of his open source laptop. You can join in and buy your own through the crowdfunding campaign.
- Dave doesn’t think he’d ever buy one because he could get low cost hardware for a PC, but Chris pointed out the software ecosystem you’re really buying.
- All of the software is available on GitHub under Xobs (Bunnie’s co founder) account.
- The laptop has a built in Spartan 6 FPGA
- The newly announced Saleae logic analyzer and scope family was just announced! They have 4 different flavors, the lowest being $99. Too late for Contextual Electronics, they’ll be using the Gabotronics Xminilab instead.
- Chris didn’t like that they are crowdfunding a product that very obviously will be released regardless.
- Sometimes you don’t get a large variety of component choice when you’re inside a niche industry. Dave used to find and report silicon bugs to manufacturers when he was working with leading edge analog to digital converters (explained on our episode about buoys!).
- Advertising at tradeshows is extreme, Chris questions if this is why he has to pay more for products.
- Apple is working to buy a dominant stake in Renesas. Their supply chain needs and excess cash has them taking risks like buying companies with huge losses ($6B+ in the past few years) in order to have first shot at the silicon.
- Buying lots of chips at once basically allows cash-heavy companies to act like mafias (“leaning” on their suppliers).
- The Raspberry Pi foundation just released a new “Compute” module based on a SO-DIMM form factor. Dave mentions that these were used in the past and had a standard associated with them, the embedded open modular architecture.
- Yet another BS indiegogo, this one creeping past $1million dollars (and still going) that can claim to track your calories through skin resistance. NOPE.
- A high-flying crowdfund campaign that isn’t BS is the MicroView, which crossed the $500K threshold. Marcus was on the show a few weeks back talking about the device.
- Chris did a booth mini Maker Faire. It’s amazing that some people do this for conferences as large as Bay Area Maker Faire (which Chris will be attending as a participant, not a presenter).
- This year there will be a “Gauntlet” that runs for 1.5 weeks: MakerCon -> Maker Faire -> SolidCon.
Thanks to Wikipedia for the image of Al Capone and to Apple for not suing us (…right?)
douglas lee says
Chris, I’m listening to the April 8 AmpHour right now. Regarding your question about “having a prototype to be able to patent something”………………
Don’t quote me exactly, although I think I’m right……………
Back in the “old days”, meanng about the mid to late 1970’s, I am pretty sure that in order to file a patent application, the item being patented had to actually exist and “work”, as you say. This was called “reduced to practice”. That was the technical term meaning the device actually existed and functioned as described in the patent.
HOWEVER, I am pretty sure that this requirement changed at some point. I think that by the mid 1990’s, but maybe before that, the requirement to “reduce to practice” was no longer in existence.
Everything I am mentioning above refers to the United States Patent Office. European and other countries might be different.
I remember that over the past 15 years or so, there has been a lot of international activity to bring the European and U.S. patent laws into some degree of harmony, or similarity. I don’t really know how much that has been accomplished.
By the way, Good On to Adam Corolla for fighting the trolls. Also, and again don’t quote me, but I think one of the Microsoft bigshots is running a Troll company—might be Nathan Myrvold (or somebody else, I don’t remember).
Douglas in Minnesota USA
“Reduce to practice” is still alive. I just had to sign a few papers for a US patent and needed to provide when the invention was first reduced to practice. However, the term does not mean what a layman would think it means. I.e. it doesn’t mean you have to build it. It is also not used for what a layman would think it is uses. I.e. it is not used to prove the invention works.
The US patent system uses two concepts to describe how an invention happens. The first is conception. Roughly, this is having the idea in your mind. The second concept is reduction to practice. This is creating a representation of the idea. This can be building it. Or simulating it. Or writing it down in detail. If no earlier date can be established then latest the filing of the patent application counts as the reduction to practice date.
Previously in the US the date of conception was important to claim your invention had priority over the same invention from someone else. Proving the actual date of conception is a bit difficult. Who can read your mind? So you had to show you did some serious work to reduce it to practice. If you did that your claimed date of conception did get more credibility.
The US moved to another system not too long ago. It is a mixture of the international system, where the one who first delivers the paperwork to the patent office gets priority, and the old US system. Because of this mixture the reduction to practice date can still be important to establish priority.
What happened to Ah 192?
I think Chris is stuck in a time warp… Side effect for not working for The Man…:-) 191, 192 193…
Its just a jump to the left……. And then a step to the right…. blah blah blah…. Need to watch that movie again.. I will out myself. I am the one working for Carolla. I appreciate any input anybody has on the current situation. None of us can really figure out what they are claiming! It makes no sense. Well, apart from the profit motive to sue.
I completely fell for both April fools jokes! One of my favorite April fools jokes was done by RedBoxChiliPepper of Phone Loser of America: http://www.phonelosers.org/2008/03/how-to-hijack-fast-food-drive-thru-frequencies/ . He explains how a CB can be modified by using a Crystal that is commonly found in toaster ovens, to hijack fast food restaurant drive thru frequencies. People all over the net fell for it, with tons of folks taking their CB radios and toasters apart. Other forums got into heated debates about why it is unethical to modify your CB with toaster oven crystals. Pretty funny, but obvious to EE’s. … But somehow I completely fell for both EEVBlog & TheAmpHour’s April fools jokes this year.
Great job guys. Thanks for the humility and a good laugh 🙂 Stay Fluxy!
Where you guys saying that it was possible to use The Saleaeaeaeaea(…) analog input as a somewhat slow scope? I would probably want the $199 one, as it has more than one analog channel, and still compatible with my old USB2.0 laptop. How do you calculate the frequency from the MS/s? Is just dividing by the 10 bits, which would make the Logic8 a 1MHz ‘scope’?
And while I think that Dave’s aprils fools joke was much funnier (and I fell for it), I think it is stretching it a bit. “I couldn’t post it on april 1st, then nobody would by it” is not a very good argument. When it is not April 1st, it is simply lying :-). I actually looked down at my taskbar clock, checking for april 1st, then calculated the time difference and then said “Yes! This is not a prank! I am getting a cheap Fluke!”.
Brian Navarette says
Chris, In the Morning to you, the company that’s suing Adam Carolla isn’t a patent troll. James Logan has been granted 3 patents for content distribution over the internet (us8112504, 6,199,076 and 7,509,178) and a number of companies pay licencing royalties to his company. I think for a podcaster this could easily be gotten around by not having an embedded player on the hosting site. Also, why does a poor Adam Carolla need crowd funding? Adam Curry (the Podfather) has a well thought out reason not to support this on episode 598 of the No Agenda Show (http://adam.curry.com/html/NA59820140309-1394394537.html). I agree the patent system is flawed but this may not be the best example of it. Lastly, the company that has filed the lawsuit is based in the free loving country of Australia, not Austria (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Audio) coincidence???? Great show.
Chris Gammell says
You don’t have to be a lawyer to be a patent troll. If you claim domain over a wide swath of technology with no realistic claim to it? You’re a troll.
brian navarette says
Its his patent, like it or not.
Chris Gammell says
Right, I don’t argue with that. It’s what he’s trying to use it for that I take offense to. And that’s what they’ll ultimately decide in court.
How about a new segment; “shonky patent of the week”. of course you would have to choose carefully since most patents are super boring…. and of course this cannot be done every week.
A problem is that too many patents are granted for things that are obvious to those skilled in the art. Most people don’t have the gall to attempt patents on those things and the others are patent trolls.
Yes it is their patent. That is not in question. The validity of the patent is whats in question. Unfortunately that is a long expensive road to go down. The idea behind the crown funding it has and will cost about 2M to fight this. Thats just the average cost of patent litigation. Adam feels that since he does not charge for his product and only makes enough through advertising to basically pay his employees, if the public wants it, then they should feel some ownership and donate. Simple as that. Adam is really big on the show me some skin to be in this game attitude. He does a lot for his fans, and they do a lot for him, such as supporting the advertisers and go to his shows, buy his books, etc etc so he insists on providing the podcast for free. If these guys win basically they will have to begin charging for it, just so they can hand more than all of the profits over to these guys. If everybody in the fan base donated $10 they can basically smash these guys and their unenforceable patent. There is definite prior art, but you still have to go through the motions to get a patent invalidated.
Brian NoBrain says
“Also, why does a poor Adam Carolla need crowd funding? ”
Gotta love that attitude.. hey he’s got money, screw him!
The Silicon Mafia!
Just imagine, you go to bed only to find a broken PCB when you wake up.