2More IP Follies
We’ve cited software patent madness in previous years’ Stupid Tech Tricks, and this year turned out to be more of the same: Smartphone vendors and adjacent players remain locked in a web of lawsuits; Paul Allen’s Interval Licensing laid claim to fundamental Web ideas in a series of suits targeting popular Internet sites; and the Supreme Court passed on an opportunity to prune the patent thickets when it handed down a very narrow ruling in Bilski vs. Kappos.
This summer, when Google announced its plans to kill off its newfangled collaboration service Google Wave by the end of the year, plenty of Web watchers applauded the move. While it was never quite clear how exactly the service was supposed to work, we think Google was too hasty in aborting Wave after less than one year.
4AT&T 3G Network: Nothing to Undo, Cancel?
5TSA Invasion of the Body Scanners
When you’re trying to get millions of people to buy into a security program, you usually talk about it first. Not so with the Nov. 1 introduction of invasive imaging and physical searches of U.S. airline passengers. Springing these changes as a fait accompli is a classic illustration of how to get a new security policy started on the wrong foot.
6You Got Xserved
When Apple decided to terminate its Xserve with less than three months’ notice to its customers. The company’s loyal big-iron accounts received, as an early lump of coal in their stockings, Apple’s advice to either make do with the Mac Mini Server or to make room in their server cabinets for the bulky (13U) Mac Pro.
7BGP Gets Hijacked
Early in 2010, a substantial chunk of the world’s Internet traffic was routed through Chinese service providers—apparently through the use of false BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) routes. Although the diversion lasted only 18 minutes, the affected traffic was addressed to about 15 percent of the Internet destinations.
8What White iPhone 4?
At the iPhone 4’s launch during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2010 in June, CEO Steve Jobs promised customers a version of the iPhone 4 in white, but so far, it has proven to be too challenging to manufacture them for public use. The Apple Website has only fleeting references to the white iPhone 4, reminding us of careless airbrush artists in the Soviet Union who would leave traces of their rendering of yesterday’s heroes as today’s unpersons.
9Microsoft Devalues the Kin
Microsoft’s Kin distinguished itself more for what it was not than for what it was: The short-lived devices weren’t Windows Mobile, they weren’t Windows Phone 7, they weren’t IM or Calendar-enabled, and they weren’t any less costly than full-function smartphones. It wasn’t surprising, then, that shortly after they debuted, they weren’t on the market any more, either.
10San Franciscos SAR Flap
When San Francisco acted to requrie cell phone merchants to display the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for each phone model sold within city limits, the CTIA balked over the regulation, announcing that is would move its annual Enterprise and Applications conference from San Francisco to San Diego, starting in 2011.