Jul 01 2012

EU Patents

Category: Business,PatentsTeknovis @ 8:40 am

It looks like the EU leaders have finally agreed to proceed with a single EU patent, according to EU leaders agree to introduce a single european patent. You can read a brief overview of the torrid time EU patents have had in European Union patent.

I think that the idea of a single streamlined EU patent is brilliant! I think that it is vital for encouraging innovation and economic activity!

Unfortunately, I think that the politicians are going to dilute the idea to suit their own national interests. For example, I am already disappointed with the following aspects of it:

  • The court will be split between London, Paris, and Munich :( One court, in a single location, would be far better!
  • The official languages will be English, French, and German. It should be English only! Languages are important, and they are an integral part of our culture. However, patenting activity is not a cultural activity! One language facilitates communications (both within and outside the EU), and it reduces unnecessary costs.
  • It appears that Italy and Spain will remain outside of the EU patents. I would prefer if they were included, but ultimately I think that their self-exclusion will hurt themselves more than anybody else!

This really cannot happen soon enough!

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Nov 25 2011

Global Debt

Category: MoneyTeknovis @ 5:22 pm

A nice interactive graphic from the BBC showing who owes what to whom: Eurozone debt web: Who owes what to whom?

It feels a bit depressing for a Friday afternoon :(

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Feb 03 2011

Location Aware Facebook

Category: Location Based ServicesTeknovis @ 6:10 pm

Facebook is becoming location aware on mobile devices in the EU (or at least in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain).

For more details see Facebook Deals Launches in Europe.

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Apr 15 2009

Spy Pen

Category: HardwareTeknovis @ 8:32 am

Is it a pen? No! It is a dictaphone? No! Is it a mobile phone? No! Is it a Bluetooth hands free headset that also functions as a pen? Yes!

Spy Pen (Copyright Gsm-Earpiece)

Spy Pen (Copyright Gsm-Earpiece)

According to the French manufacturer Gsm-Earpiece, the device is intended for the following purpose:

The Gsm Pen was specially designed for students who need some help at their examinations. During their exam or test they can get the necessary information from their friends over the cell phone. Keeping the phone in their pocket they can talk to the pen that they are using for writing and listen to the correct answers with the micro earpiece in their ear.

Some other more general uses for Gsm-Earpiece’s products are also described in Spy Earpiece – What is it for?.

If you really are interested in learning more about this headset, then visit Gsm Pen – What is it for?. (Note the interesting spelling sell phone while you are there ;)

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Mar 25 2009

Irish Government Censorship

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 10:49 pm

A very interesting story about Government censorship has been unfolding in Ireland over the last two days. Indeed, if not for the Internet then the story would have been successfully squashed by now!

It all started with a practical joke in which paintings of the Irish Prime Minister, who was naked, were hung in two popular art galleries in Dublin. The national broadcaster RTE provided coverage of the story.

Here is a screenshot of one of the paintings in case the video gets removed:

Painting of Brian Cowen (From RTE News)

Painting of Brian Cowen (From RTE News)

Initially this was just an example of Irish humour, but it quickly took a sinister tone. First RTE was pressurised into removing the video from its web site, and it was subsequently forced to issue the following apology:

The Government then continued to flex its muscles today by sending the police into a radio station that covered the story. The police were demanding the name of the artist. More information about this can be read in Gardaí visit radio station in Cowen painting inquiry.

The police identified the artist in one of the fastest investigations ever undertaken, and they are currently preparing a prosecution. The police also seized five other similar paintings. More details of this are described in Teacher questioned over Cowen paintings.

My opinion on all of this is that it is outrageous that the Government is putting so many resources into trying to bury this story. I am also delighted with the responses of the online community, and I hope to play my part also :o

I am also really surprised that the Governemnt, or even the Prime Minister, did not seize the opportunity to turn it into good publicity.

For more coverage of this story from the Irish blogging community take a look at the recent posts by Maman Poulet, Damien Mulley, and Caricatures Ireland. This last web site has a very good caricature in The Taoiseach has no clothes and RTE has no balls: the Brian Cowen Nude Caricature.

Brian Cowen Caricature (Copyright Caricatures Ireland)

Brian Cowen Caricature (Copyright Caricatures Ireland)

The t-shirt version of it looks great in Get your b*ll*ck-naked T*oiseach t-sh*rt.

I also think that this is yet another example of how a small story becomes a huge story when somebody tries to censor it! A perfect example of this is all of the other caricatures that are now appearing on the Internet, such as the caricatures in Photoshop Cowen extravaganza. I think that some of these are very funny, while others are not. However, I think it is vital in a democracy that they are all available to the public!

I have been following this story, and the associated outrage, all day on Twitter. I must admit that I really liked the real-time nature of this, although it was a distraction :o

It is also very interesting to see how the global media is covering this story. The story is covered in the UK in Naked taoiseach paintings removed, Cowen artist ‘could be charged’, and Guerrilla artist hangs nude paintings of taoiseach Brian Cowen. France is reading about the story in A poil, par Robert Solé, and the US is reading about it in Ireland: Nude Premier Paintings Appear. Perhaps the most ironic, or even worrying, coverage is by the Chinese in Naked Irish PM portraits removed. I am sure that it is also being covered by many other news agencies of which I am not aware!

The story has also made it into Wikipedia, where it is known as Picturegate. Perhaps the Irish Government will try to remove this next!

I wonder how this story will continue in the following days!

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Dec 13 2008

Online Christmas Shopping 2008

Category: eShoppingTeknovis @ 6:06 pm

I did all my online Christmas shopping this week. It went very well, and I must admit that I love the comfort of shopping in my own time from my own home. I am the sort of person that researches every purchase online, thinks about it some more, and eventually purchases. Visiting real shops with a list of things to buy is an experience that I try to avoid! Now I hope that all my presents arrive soon!

I bought lots of presents on Expansys, PhotoBox, and Play (which has the bonus of being VAT free). I also bought some presents on Asos, which was my first time to buy clothes online! I really like all of these websites because they price in euro even though they are not based in the eurozone.

It really annoys me when online retailers expect Irish customers to use the UK versions of their websites. Yes – we speak the same language, but we use a different currency! I think it is just pure laziness on their behalf!

Amazon is a perfect example of such an online retailer. It has a French website in euro, a German website in euro, and an English wesite in pounds :(

Amazon Ireland

Amazon Ireland

Indeed, Amazon’s approach to the EU market is very limited.

Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try this year since the pound is so weak compared to the euro. I wanted to buy a small electronics device, and the price was really good. It was only when I went to buy the item that I realised that Amazon do not ship it outside of the UK :( I understand that this might be due to the fact that Amazon does not want to be responsible for collecting old electronic devices as required by the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive. So I abandoned shopping with Amazon :(

There seems to be plenty of other people who are unhappy with Amazon also according to Amazon behaving badly and Amazon UK withdraws John Duignan’s Scientology exposé “The Complex” from sale “for legal reasons”.

Finally, it appears that I am not the only person shopping online this week! According to “Busiest day” for online shopping last Monday was the busiest day in the year for online sales in the UK. The busiest hour was predicted to occur between 13:00 and 14:00 when £28 million worth of goods were to be sold. Some online retailers are predicting that this year will be their busiest year ever as more shoppers buy online. There is also an interesting video showing the inside of Amazon’s distribution centre.

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Dec 12 2008

Google Zeitgeist 2008

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 7:33 pm

Google published the Zeitgeist 2008 earlier this week. This shows the most popular searches on Google during 2008.

The results are broken down into separate results for each country, which is probably more useful than the overall results. One of the interesting things that I noticed is that the term Google is in the top 10 in many countries! I do not know why people search for this using Google, but my guess is that these people are not searching directly on the Google webpage. For example, I have Firefox configured so that I can type my Google search terms directly into the address bar.

It is also very interesting to see that certain terms that are directly related to well known websites, such as YouTube, appear in all of the EU results. Yet nearly all of the EU results have terms that are specific to the country or language. I do not recognise a lot of these ones!

The most popular search terms in Ireland were:

  1. Bebo
  2. Youtube
  3. Hotmail
  4. Yahoo
  5. Google
  6. Games
  7. You tube
  8. News
  9. Map
  10. gmail

Unfortunately, none of these search terms relate to Irish websites :(

The fastest rising search terms in Ireland were:

  1. Facebook
  2. utube
  3. google maps
  4. Youtube
  5. Nasza klasa
  6. Wiki
  7. RTE
  8. Maps
  9. Irish Times
  10. Yahoo! mail

Perhaps the most interesting search term on this list is for the Polish social networking website Nasza-Klasa. (This is the most popular search term in Poland.)

There is also an interesting observation about the list of most popular politicians in Ireland in Politician Declan Ganley more popular than Bertie says Google.

More details about the popular search terms in Ireland can be read in “Sarah Palin” the most searched query on Google. Unfortunately, Ireland is not included in the Google Zeitgeist page, and I am unable to find the official source!

The results presented by Google have been filtered to remove terms related to adult searches. I recall hearing that pornography related searches are by far the most popular. However, it seems that Google did not get the filtering totally right this time for the UK results. The original list (see Palin beats Obama in Google’s ‘zeitgeist’ rankings or 2008 Year-End Zeitgeist Around the World until the mistake is noticed) contained the term cam4 under the Fastest Rising category. Let me say that cam4 is certainly not suitable for viewing in work :o For more about this see Ooops, Google Zeitgeist lists a porn site.

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Dec 01 2008

French Presidency Capitalises on Barack Obama Popularity

Category: Humour,InternetTeknovis @ 1:00 pm

A French friend of mine sent me a link this morning, and told me to take a look at it. The link was http://www.obama08.fr/, so I was expecting another Barack Obama website.

However, if you visit this link you are actually taken to http://www.elysee.fr/, which is the official homepage of the French President!

I think that this is nothing more than a good joke, because the registration details for each domain are quite different according to the WHOIS Service for French domains.

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