Thursday, March 10, 2011

View All Kinds of Files Online is 1 of 10 Awesome Google Tricks from Keir Thomas at PCWorld, March, 2011


10 Awesome Google Tricks You Missed - PCWorld Business Center

I had been looking for ways to display documents online and the solution found here fits my needs beautifully.

Trick 1 of the 10 is: View All Kinds of Files Online

European Union (EU) Not Giving Up on Pan-European Patent Court as European Commission Moves Forward with Legislation Plans In Spite of Legal Barriers

As reported on March 10, 2011 by Deutsche Welle at

EU member states agree on common patent laws, Italy and Spain sit out

the European Commission is not giving up on a "European and Community Patent Court", a planned pan-European court which just two days ago was strongly negated by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as impinging on national courts, as we reported at LawPundit.

25 Member Nations of the EU have now approved plans for such a court (with "no's" from Italy and Spain), thereby giving the power to the European Commission to draft the respective legislation, to be subsequently presented to the European Parliament for a vote.

Hence, in spite of the ECJ decision, a pan-European patent court is still in the works.

European Court of Justice (ECJ) Delivers a Strong "No" to a Pan-European Patent Court as Breaching EU Framework and Impinging on National Courts

Simon Petersen at has the story at:

ECJ warns pan-European patent court would breach EU framework,

"Long-mooted plans for a pan-European patent court have suffered another setback after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) this week stated that such a policy would conflict with the EU's constitution."
Read the whole thing here.

The "America Invents Act" S. 23 Passed by U.S. Senate 95-5 and Now Goes to the House

Given its overwhelming 95-5 passage in the U.S. Senate, (see Patent Reform Passes Major Senate Hurdle at the Patents Post Grant Blog), one might think it to be likely that the Patent Reform Act S.23 would have a good chance to get through the House of Representatives, but Edward Wyatt at the New York Times in Senate Passes Bill to Change Patent System and Pricing says it isn't so, and that it is clear that the House will have its own version of the legislation needed.

We did like this paragraph of Wyatt:
"During debate on the bill, Senator Leahy repeatedly referred to the bill as being the first reform of the patent system in 60 years. He said, “A patent system developed for a 1952 economy — before the Internet, before cellphones, before computers, before photocopiers, even before the I.B.M. Selectric typewriter — needs to be reconsidered in light of 21st-century realities, while staying true to the consistent constitutional imperative of encouraging innovation and invention.”"
We definitely agree with the need for substantial patent reform, although the proposed change from a "first to invent" to a "first to file" system may unjustly favor those who have the money to file patents, which requires the investment of thousands of dollars. A penniless inventor with a great invention is out of luck until he finds the cash to file his patent application, and by then, word may have gotten around, and a patent can then be easily stolen. I am not sure that is the kind of "patent reform" the system needs.

Patently-O lists some of the main provisions of the Senate bill, an Act which in our opinion is far, far short of what is actually required to reform the patent system as needed.

The Patent Law Practice Center has a list of sources on the blogosphere who have commented on the so-called "Leahy Bill", as the "America Invents Act" has three main sponsors in the senate, led by Pat Leahy (D-VT), plus Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

Some progress in patent legislation is essential, so that this passage in the Senate could be viewed as a good sign, regardless of whether one agrees fully with all of the provisions or not.

You can't have everything and some progress is better than nothing. At least the Congress recognizes that something has to be done in terms of patent reform.

Privacy and Social Media in a World where Sharing Information on Social Media Networks is the Dominant Internet Activity

Social media is a revolutionary change.
"Sharing information through social media has become the dominant way Internet users spend their time. The feelings consumers have about privacy itself have changed...."
Read the whole story by Bob Sullivan, MSNBC Technology Correspondent, Security, in Social media polarizes our privacy concerns.

Social Media Pioneers at Global Neighbourhoods

Shel Israel at Global Neighbourhoods writes at SM Pioneers: Justin Hall, the 1st blogger:

"[NOTE: Formerly, the SM Global Report, this column has interviewed people all over the world who have extended social media in interesting or useful directions. For the next several months it will focus exclusively on people who will be covered in my next book, Social Media Pioneers.

Your feedback will influence how extensively I cover people. If you can think of someone who I should include, please let me know as well.]
Read the whole thing.

Labor Union Debate in Iowa Reminds of Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842) and the Legalization of Labor Unions

Following short-sighted short-term goals and thereby to damage long-standing long-term rights has always been a bad strategy, and the State of Iowa in the United States is right in the middle of that scenario.

As Jason Clayworth writes at the Des Moines Register Staff Blogs:
"House File 525, the bill being debated, would allow public employees to act as “free agents” to sidestep union representation. It additionally would prohibit unions from having any say regarding layoffs....

Republicans say it is a step to helping Iowa maintain budgetary equilibrium."
It all reminds us a bit of Commonwealth v. Hunt, 45 Mass. 111 (1842).

The idea that budgets or the economy can be improved by rolling the clock back by decades or by centuries is just simple legislative idiocy.

The problem in America is not that the unions have been so successful that they have injured the economy or have made it difficult to meet government budgets.

Rather, and quite the contrary, American unions have been much too weak in allowing half the economy and the nation's know-how to be transferred offshore to foreign masters paying dirt wages to non-unionized workers, and in the process also contributing thereby to the sins of child labor and abysmal working conditions in developing countries, sins that generations of Americans fought valiantly against.

Going after American unions at this stage in the game is a rather typical move for politicians by which the blame for things is shoved off on innocent scapegoats who have had little to do with the present economic malaise in America, the responsibility for which is to be sought among those who run the economy, not those who work for it.

The solution in Iowa as in the rest of the United States is not to go BACKWARD, but rather to gather strength and to go FORWARD, as hard as that may be.

Nostalgia is not a good way to run a government or an economy.

Lawyers and Speaking Suggestions from The Velvet Hammer

Lawyer tips: how to avoid boring your seminar audience : The Velvet Hammer : Karen Koehler: Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer

The suggestions there are quite good, not just for lawyers or seminar audiences, but for speaking generally. Some years ago, when I did 4-hour stints lecturing on Anglo-American Law to 200 or so students in gigantic lecture halls at the University of Trier Law School in their FFA program, I used to "prowl the stage", just as Koehler writes, doing a jurisprudential Mick Jagger. It works (certainly much better, in any case, than just standing at the podium and reading your lines).

Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold : A Book Review at by Michael Ruhlman on a Six-Volume Masterwork by a Multimillionaire Tech Visionary

The New York Times Book Review by Michael Ruhlman writes:
"DESCENDING this week on the culinary scene like a meteor, “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking” is the self-published six-volume masterwork from a team led by Nathan Myhrvold, the multimillionaire tech visionary who, as a friend of mine said, “decided to play Renaissance doge with food.” "
Read the whole thing at Book Review - Nathan Myhrvold's ‘Modernist Cuisine’ -

Easy Class List at Stanford for Athletes: Welcome to the Real World

I am writing here as a Stanford alum, so I do admit to a bit of bias....

Report: 'Easy' class list at Stanford! - Pac-10 Blog - ESPN

I think what amazes me about this story is that people get all worked up about something that has been going on at probably every university in the country for years in one way or another -- athletes are informed about or inform themselves one way or the other about classes to take just like all other students do.

In making their choices athletes obviously take into account whether a certain course is going to eat up too much of their time, be so difficult that it drops their GPA, etc.

Most students, athletes or not, try to optimize their class schedule, given umpteen personal criteria.

As for "official" athletic department lists, it is of course a smart AD who recognizes that it would be a disaster to lose a star football lineman to academic ineligibility just because he was allowed to blunder naively into a theoretical physics class focusing on mathematical models of special and general relativity. Many a lineman might do academically well there, don't get me wrong, but the demands of college athletics must also be served.

Generally, as far as college sports are concerned, there needs to be a general reality check made in many quarters about "normal" practices and then the alleged standards of good practice should be adjusted to the world as it actually is and not the way people might think it is or should be.

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