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 18 2011

Caught Faking a PhD

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 10:56 pm

Ouch – German ‘plagiarism’ minister Guttenberg drops doctorate.

Of course, somebody in Ireland did something similar in Ireland within the last 10 years…

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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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May 06 2009

German FriendFinder

Category: Location Based ServicesTeknovis @ 4:54 pm

A friend, with whom I previously work on LBSs, recently told me about a new realisation of the FriendFinder LBS. This realisation is developed by a German company, and you can read more about it in aka-aki.

Interestingly, privacy does not appear to be a major concern in relation to this LBS, as noted by my friend ;)

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Dec 17 2008

Virgin Broadband

Category: Networks,TelecomsTeknovis @ 10:34 pm

I read an interesting article earlier in the week describing how Virgin Media has launched its new broadband service. This service will be available throughout the UK in the next six months, and it providers users with a maximum download speed of 50Mbps. This will make Virgin Media the fastest ISP in the UK.

More details about this can be read in Virgin unveils next-gen broadband.

The same article describes how BT is beginning a fibre to the cabinet trial that will provide users with speeds up to 40Mbps.

This is very interesting, because in the middle of 2007 I attended an event hosted by T-Com in Berlin. One of the topics at this event was broadband, and T-Com told us that it would have fibre to the cabinet deployed in the 50 largest cities in Germany in 2008. This would be capable of supplying 17 million homes. At that time T-Com had already installed fibre to the cabinet in the 26 largest cities in Germany, and we were shown some of the new cabinets on the streets in Berlin. It was then easy to spot these new cabinets ourselves, because they are slightly larger than the standard cabinets, and if you listen carefully you can hear the cooling equipment running inside them! T-Com were offering a triple play service of phone, television, and Internet to customers using this infrastructure. There were some BT representatives at the meeting also, and I recall them being impressed :o

Independently, it appears that Virgin Media will start traffic shaping P2P traffic next year according to Virgin Media to dump neutrality and target BitTorrent users. I wonder if the Net Neutrality war is being lost in Europe :|

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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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Nov 22 2008

Internet Censorship in the EU

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 5:19 pm

I am a big fan of free speech, and I really dislike censorship, especially at state level. I feel this way about both the Internet and the traditional media.

I think that freedom of speech in relation to the Internet is quite good in Ireland at the moment. Everybody here can legally view any websites that they want. At least I am not aware of any blocking of illegal sites. As far as I know, it is even legal to view child pornography in Ireland! (However, it is illegal to intentionally store it, and that is what people get charged with in court. Yes, this does create a great technical argument!)

Unfortunately, many other EU states do impose blocks on certain sites in order to censor them. For example, I think that most EU states have bans on web sites relating to, or glorifying, Nazism. Of course it is fairly easy for me to have this view in Ireland, since we never experienced the atrocities that most of the EU experienced within the last 100 years.

I have two main problems with Internet censorship:

  • It is often technically infeasible or pointless
  • It often creates a huge artificial interest in the censored subject

TechCrunch has an article called German Politician Blocks Local Wikipedia which demonstrates both of these points perfectly!

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