February 28, 2006

Ambrogi on Podcast Search Engines

Have you ever been lured in by a seemingly interesting podcast, only to learn that it was dryer than the Mohave Desert at high noon? If so, check out the Feb. 2006 issue of Law Technology News for Bob Ambrogi's take on the latest podcast search engines (free registration required). Some of these technologies are evolving more quickly than others, or at least in different directions. I remember when Podscope was getting all the ooh's and aah's. But our ever-surfing Bob has hit on Podzinger, which offers some value-added features such as speech recognition to transcribe the entire contents of podcasts. To hear Bob explain it:

"Podzinger is impressive for its features. Search results include text highlights of the portions of the audio that match your search. Click on any word in the highlighted text, and the podcast begins to play at the point where you clicked. To the left of the results is a control panel that lets you play the entire podcast or move backward or forward through the audio. The control panel also lets you download the entire podcast, subscribe to its RSS feed, or subscribe via iTunes or Yahoo!"
He also covers Blinkx, which in addition to indexing podcasts, allows one to search over one million hours of TV and video.

While nothing is perfect, these search tools just keep getting better in helping us improve our own podcast signal-to-noise ratio. Given the complexities of trying to recognize everyone's speech patterns, it's still pretty impressive.

Topic(s):   Web Wizardry
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February 19, 2006

New Google Desktop: Configure It Carefully, or Forget It

I've been meaning to post this: That's the warning from the EFF, as reported in The Register. I know many people think Google Desktop is the coolest thing for personal info management, but I've previously posted my concerns here. It just keeps getting more complicated for maintaining control over your personal data, unless you are very committed to learning exactly what the software does and knowing what escapes out through your firewall.

Thus one should question using a number of these free tools. It's not paranoia when others have confirmed it. If you do, then in addition to the configuration suggestions, see if you can configure your software firewall to block all its traffic requests, particularly outgoing traffic to try to limit its phone home capabilities. If you don't have a firewall that can block outgoing traffic by software program, get one, pronto. It never hurts to add a second layer of protection, but don't rely on any single precaution as absolute.

It also makes me wonder about the effect on client confidentiality when used on a PC with access to sensitive documents and other data. Even if the privilege isn't waived, if one is representing a client with questionable or confidential activities, then you aren't exactly helping to keep them confidential with tools such as this, right? It's a bit difficult to unring the bell, food for thought. Not professing any legal advice, just good old-fashioned common sense. Let's be careful out there.

Topic(s):   Privacy & Security
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February 13, 2006

BlackBerry Shutdown Satire, Onion Style

You know the Crackberry has become a pop icon when the Onion satirizes it. Enjoy.

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
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February 10, 2006

Microsoft to Customers: Install Office Suite Updates Due to Patent Infringement

Technology patent disputes are certainly hitting home with customers this week. Per a CNET News story, "Microsoft's recent warning that customers must use an updated version of Office in new installations is likely to affect a significant number of businesses, according to a study.

The software maker said last month that as the result of a patent dispute, companies will have to use tweaked versions of Office XP and Office 2003 when they install the software on new machines."

An earlier article stated:

"Microsoft has begun e-mailing its corporate customers worldwide, letting them know that they may need to start using a different version of Office as a result of a recent legal setback.

The software maker said Monday that it has been forced to issue new versions of Office 2003 and Office XP, which change the way Microsoft's Access database interacts with its Excel spreadsheet.

The move follows a verdict last year by a jury in Orange County, Calif., which found in favor of a patent claim by Guatemalan inventor Carlos Armando Amado. Microsoft was ordered to pay $8.9 million in damages for infringing Amado's 1994 patent. That award covered sales of Office between March 1997 and July 2003."

"Although existing customers can keep using older versions on current machines, any new installations of Office 2003 will require Service Pack 2, released by Microsoft in September. Office XP will need to be put into use with a special patch applied.

Microsoft is also recommending that customers update their existing software with the new code."

Topic(s):   Legal Technology
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February 09, 2006

RIM Releases Information on BlackBerry Injunction Workaround Technology

As a follow-up to my last post, today RIM issued a press release and other "details of a software update (named BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition™) that has been designed and tested as a contingency to allow RIM partners and customers to continue to use the BlackBerry service should the court implement an injunction in the current litigation involving the NTP patents."

The information discusses the legal ramifications, customer impact, and some explanation of the multi-mode software for switching over should the injunction be issued.

Other linked documents include:

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
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February 07, 2006

BlackBerry Shutdown FAQ

Those with Crackberry anxiety due to the latest developments in the RIM/NTP case should find this interesting: CNET News has put together a very informative FAQ: Will BlackBerrys be shut down? It does a nice job of summing up the issues, developments, and possibilities.

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
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