E-tales: Loopy litigation

With the SCO controversy cracking along times already seemed to be good for intellectual property lawyers serving the IT industry.

With the SCO controversy cracking along times already seemed to be good for intellectual property lawyers serving the IT industry. They just got better with news that Qualcomm is to sue Texas Instruments over TI allegedly breaching a patent licencing agreement with Qualcomm to do with cellphone chip technology. (TI is disputing the claim, saying it is "without merit".) We might note that if we were Qualcomm, we might get a new general counsel or at least make him change his name: the present holder of that position is a Mr Lou Lupin. But then they love their odd names stateside: take a squiz at the spokespeople in any of the stories about the SCO Linux suit.

Bear essentials

The PR firm representing Palm in this part of the world has notified customers of an unbeatable limited time offer of a "more complete wireless solution". Leaving aside the question of whether "more complete" is a little like "very unique" or "You've got a temperature" (ie stoopid), there's the issue of what's on offer. The company enlightens us (we think) in the next paragraph. During the month of August, "any purchase of the Tungsten T2 handheld will come with an Essentials Kit, consisting of a Palm sleeve case, recharging USB HotSync cable, two stylus and six screen protectors; valued at $74.95, whilst stocks lasts." Noting the bold but pronunciation-challenging use of "whilst", does this mean it's normal practice to supply the device without "essentials"? (which, if we take the term literally, means it won't work). Be in quick.

Lies, damn lies and OS glitches

How understanding would your chief exec be if the phone system crashed twice each working day? Not very, we bet. That's reality for as many as one in 20 Windows users, according to Microsoft itself.

"Mr Gates acknowledged today that the company's error reporting service indicated that 5% of all Windows-based computers now crash more than twice each day," the New York Times reported towards the bottom of a lengthy piece on a Microsoft meeting for financial analysts last week.

Twice each day. Ten times per working week. Forty crashes a month. Oh dear.

Windows has about 95% of the desktop, which means the number of Windows users suffering two or more crashes a day is roughly equivalent to the number of people running all other desktops combined.

Don't call us

Inappropriate on-hold music #17: at the immigration service it was Bic Runga's Sway: " ... don't stray, don't ever go away ... I should be much too smart for this ..."

It won't hurt a bit

From the bigger-than-Texas world of spam, a message received last week. "Update your browser! Over 174 million internet users are currently able to see the entire web. Are you?

"Your browser may not currently recognise all available domain-name extensions.

"Click yes, if you would like to update your browser. It's free and will only take a second to download."

Note: If anyone in your organisation doesn't know how to update their browser, this is not likely to be the best way.

Napster wakes

Online music has again become a respectable subject to discuss, post-iTunes, and everyone's getting into it. Including Napster. Now owned by Roxio, Napster plans to relaunch before Christmas, offering paid and free services. The company's signed deals with the quintet of Big Music plus independents, so version 2.0 will let users pay either a subscription fee or for each download. The gold's started to appear, but has the pioneer been asleep by the stream too long?

On the list

Enthusiastic file-sharers can find out if the US record industry is after them at a site created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

As well as offering advice and links to legal help, the online civil liberties group created the database to let people see if a subpoena has been issued for them by the equally enthusiastic Recording Industry Association of America. The RIAA has sent out a swag of subpoenas in an attempt to stop people sharing copyrighted music over the internet.

The information comes from a US justice system called Pacer, a paid service that seems like the place to go to find out if the US courts are looking for you.

Nothing like nostalgia

Not only is sci-fi culter Blake's 7 possibly being revived as a higher-budget (no, really?) TV series, but the even earlier cop show Starsky & Hutch is coming out as a film after reappearing as a game.

Twenty-five years after it first appeared on TV, Blake's 7 is allegedly being produced as a telemovie or a new series, after a deal was signed between a group of producers and the estate of creator Terry Nation. We'll see.

As for Starsky & Hutch, a couple of happy "Bay City" bachelor cops, they stayed together for about five years. David Soul (blond one) went on from the role of Detective Ken Hutchinson to sing a little and act in a lot of stuff you will never have seen, while Paul Michael Glaser followed Dave Starsky with roles directing such classics as The Running Man.

The real star, of course, was the red Ford Gran Torino with a white swoosh down the sides and on the roof, not to mention the wakka-wakka theme tune and the too-cool Huggy Bear.

The game (PS2, Xbox, PC) is apparently a light-hearted screech down memory lane. You chase bad guys and do stunts. The new movie, starring Ben Stiller as Starsky, Owen Wilson as Hutch and Snoop Dogg as Huggy, threatens to be the hit of 2004.

Edited by Mark Broatch.

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