Posts Tagged ‘Valley’
Silicon Valley has actually already been reported in its very own fact TV show on Bravo, and now HBO is looking to use the exact same property for a live-action series. Deadline reports that King of the Hill and Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge, along with KotH manager producers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, will certainly shoot a pilot for Silicon Valley in the spring.
The program is said to be a live-action dark comedy filmed with a single camera that will analyze exactly how “the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of dealing with success” in the Valley. There’s no guarantee that the pilot will certainly get picked up for a full run, but Judge’s previous work directing Workplace Space would appear to be good experience.
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Back in July the United States Patent and Hallmark Office revealed that it would be opening three new branches– and former Google lawyer Michelle K. Lee is heading up the Silicon Valley workplace. Google’s previous deputy general counsel and head of patent approach, Lee invested nine years with the business prior to leaving earlier this year. According to Reuters, Lee confirmed she had accepted the position throughout a conference today at Santa Clara University.
Lee officially started her brand-new position on November 5th, but prior to that had actually been serving on the USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Task force– a team concentrated on evaluating the office’s performance and policies. Throughout her time at Google, she often voiced concerns about the …
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TV network Bravo has given the green light to a new reality show that will follow the exploits of various 20-somethings as they look to make it big in the tech-centric world of northern California. Tentatively titled “Silicon Valley,” the series will be produced by Randi Zuckerberg — Mark Zuckerberg’s sister and Facebook’s former marketing director. As VentureBeat notes, Bravo began casting for the series last year, putting out a call on Craigslist for “confident professionals with big personalities.” From the brief preview clip (which you can check out starting at the 1:19 mark of the video below), it’s fairly obvious that the network succeeded at finding these people, as it looks like the show is going to focus more on outlandish…
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thefilmarchive.org 1965 www.amazon.com Watch the full program: thefilmarchived.blogspot.com This film concerns the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam. The Battle of Ia Drang was one of the first major battles between the United States Army and the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) (referred to by US fighting units as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) during the Vietnam War. The two-part battle took place between November 14 and November 18, 1965, at two landing zones (LZs) northwest of Plei Me in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam (approximately 35 miles south-west of Pleiku). The battle derives its name from the Drang River which runs through the valley northwest of Plei Me, in which the engagement took place. “Ia” means “river” in the local Montagnard language. Representing the American forces were elements of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, the 2nd Battalion, and the 5th Cavalry of the United States Army. The North Vietnamese forces included the 33rd, 66th, and 320th Regiments of the NVA as well National Liberation Front (NLF) (known world wide as the VC) of the H15 Battalion. The battle featured close air support by US bombers. Both sides suffered heavy losses and both claimed victory. The US lost 234 dead, with 242 wounded; November 17 was the deadliest ambush for Americans in the entire Vietnam War, with 155 men killed and 126 men wounded. The battle is the subject of the critically acclaimed book We Were Soldiers Once And Young by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L …
Video Rating: 4 / 5
Honeywell filed a multi-patent infringement lawsuit against Nest Labs and Best Buy earlier this week. The suit alleges that Nest Labs is infringing on seven Honeywell patents. Honeywell is not seeking licensing fees. The consumer electronic conglomerate wants Nest Labs to cease using the technology and is actually looking to collect damages caused by the infringement. Damages? Bullshit. This is about killing the competition.
This lawsuit hit Silicon Valley and the tech world hard when it broke Monday morning. Nest Labs is the Valley’s star child right now. The company, founded by the godfather of the iPod, started in a Palo Alto garage just over two years ago and successfully disrupted a stale industry so hard that it seems to have resulted in a major lawsuit. The company won a Best of Innovations Award at CES 2012 and, just last week, a Crunchie for Best New Device. People love Nest. And now most of those same people hate Honeywell.
Honeywell has every right to protect their intellectual property. In their defensive, Nest Labs is clearly riffing off of Honeywell’s iconic round thermostat design. Honeywell’s T87 thermostat is undeniably, instantly recognizable as a thermostat. But so is a Kleenex box. And a Frisbee. Shame on Nest Labs if the Nest Learning Thermostat was intentionally developed from Honeywell’s intellectual property. But from where I sit Nest Labs is simply trying to advance the thermostat using novel features in a familiar design.
The suit alleges Nest Labs infringes on several of Honeywell’s patents involving thermostats. Several, like 7159789 and 7159790, involve the round hardware mechanism, rotating dial and center screen placement. Others, namely 7142948 and http://www.google.com/patents?id=cdLKAAAAEBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=7634504&hl=en&sa=X&ei=SVYwT476Bem02gWhzYznDg&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA, covers the user interface. Natural language installer setup for controller (7634504) allows for a graphical user interface that sets up the device through a series of simple questions like, “On weekdays, is someone home all day?” and “What is a comfortable sleeping temperature in the summer?” You see, the Nest also has a friendly user interface. Apparently Honeywell is the only one allowed to have a round, rotating idiot-proof thermostat.
Honeywell has been selling thermostats for years but none, including the company’s very pricey Prestige line, match the Nest’s build quality or user interface. I spent a considerable amount of time shopping for a thermostat last year. Out of the six or so Honeywell models I tried, all were cheaply made and featured piss-poor UIs. I literally punched my wall after becoming so frustrated with one of the Prestige models.
The difference between a Honeywell thermostat and the Nest is striking. One is a cheap, clearly mass-produced hunk of plastic and the other is something you would be proud to own. This feeling is exactly why this lawsuit reeks of greed. Honeywell is embarrassed, perhaps even slightly frightened, by an upstart that is managing to get people excited about thermostats.
Honeywell clearly knows what they’re doing. While it’s easy to throw up your hands in disgust, Honeywell is operating within their rights. A quick run-through of the patents revels that the Nest Learning Thermostat is seemingly infringing on all seven. Some are trivial like the four aforementioned patents but the others are a bit more substantial and detailed. Patent 7476988 Power Stealing Control Devices lists the process required to leech the thermostat’s power from another source and store it in a battery, capacitor or the like. But it’s not my job to decide which claim has merit. It’s the hands of the courts now.
I spoke with Matthew Mitchell, Esq. of Mitchell Law PLLC regarding Honeywell’s claims. He pointed out that Nest could have simply overlooked the patents listed here. Or, as he assumes is more likely, the company was aware of these and already have a litigation strategy ready to argue that the patents are invalid.
Patents are intended to protect non-obvious ideas while advancing general innovation. Mitchell later pointed out, “Patents are the great equalizer. Patents enable garage inventors and small startups (some of which are referred to as: non-practicing entities or ‘trolls’) to compete with the big boys like Honeywell.” If the case was reversed, if Nest was suing Honeywell, the tech press’ knee-jerk reaction would have been different, but still likely siding with the little guy.
It will be up to the courts whether Honeywell’s claims have merit and the company is due damages, but unfortunately the only winner in this case will be the legal teams. Nest Labs will likely spend money earmarked for R&D/marketing on a defense. Honeywell’s image is tarnished.
But worse yet, the consumer will lose the most if a novel startup like Nest Labs is sued out of existence.
Steve Jobs personally asked Eric Schmidt to stop poaching employees, and other unredacted statements in a Silicon Valley scandal
Last week, we got our first glimpse at the (heavily redacted) evidence behind a Silicon Valley scandal dating back to 2005 — Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel, Intuit and other tech firms, it was revealed, had agreements not to poach one another’s employees. Technically, the Department of Justice settled an antitrust lawsuit in 2010, but employees who claim they were injured by the arrangement are still fighting for more, with a proposed class-action lawsuit that’s having its day in court this month. Today, we obtained an unredacted court document that reveals just how deep the proverbial rabbit hole goes… and how it personally involved Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and other prominent executives. Here’s what we learned.
Intel CEO Paul…
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3D hype is fast wearing out its welcome, but there’s at least one area of industry where the buzzed about term could usher in true innovation. Announced today as a joint research project, IBM and 3M will work towards the creation of a new breed of microprocessors. Unlike similar three-dimensional semiconductor efforts by Intel, the two newly partnered outfits plan to stack up to 100 layers of chips atop one another resulting in a microchip “brick.” Under the agreement, IBM will contribute its expertise on packaging the new processors, while 3M will get to work developing an adhesive that can not only be applied in batches, but’ll also allow for heat transfer without crippling logic circuitry. If the companies’ boasts are to be believed, these powerhouse computing towers would cram memory and networking into a “computer chip 1,000 times faster than today’s fastest microprocessor enabling more powerful smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming devices.” That’s a heady claim for a tech that doesn’t yet exist, but is already taking swings at current faux 3D transistors. Official presser and video await you after the break.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
-Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities
For people who spend most of their days within a few blocks of tech start-up epicenters such as South Park in San Francisco, University Avenue in Palo Alto or the Flatiron district in New York, last week’s jobs report must have created some cognitive dissonance. After all, we’re in a boom/bubble right? It’s really hard to hire good people isn’t it? But take a moment to step outside the world of high technology and a dramatically different picture emerges of what’s going on in America.
The number of unemployed now eclipses 14 million nationwide. Underemployment is scary too with U-6, the government’s official measure of under-utilization,rising to 16.2% in June from 15.8% in May. But the worst number of them all might be mean duration of employment (the length of time that the average unemployed person has been out of work) which has spiked to 40 weeks. As a Wall Street Journal article this week pointed out, if you factored in those who’ve dropped out of the labor market (and therefore aren’t counted in unemployment numbers), the situation would appear even worse.
Which bring us to an important question: Should Silicon Valley (and other tech clusters throughout the country) care? After all, as long as people in Nebraska or the Central Valley of California have enough money to buy virtual tractors to tend their crops in Farmville, should the tech community be worried about whether those same people are getting paid to do work in the real world? Is what’s best for Silicon Valley also good for America?
On one hand, a thriving tech sector is a beacon of hope for America and perhaps one of a shrinking number of things keeping the country from slipping from its perch as the world’s foremost economic superpower. Fast-growth companies like Facebook, Groupon and Twitter create jobs, attract foreign investment (see Sarah Lacy’s article “How We All Missed Web 2.0′s “Netscape Moment”) and generate tremendous amounts of wealth for employees and shareholders which circulates throughout the economy.
In addition, a host of technology companies enable people around the country to make money. Etsy empowers people anywhere to make money selling handmade goods. AirBnB allows anyone with a house or apartment to make money renting it out. And whether you’re talking about design communities like 99designs, crowdsourcing platforms like CrowdFlower, outsourcing sites like oDesk or an artisan food marketplace like Foodzie, tech-enabled marketplaces allow millions of dollars to flow from consumers to producers every year. (Check out Semil Shah’s article “The P2P Evolution” for more great examples of this in action.)
Furthermore, tech companies are helping to reshape how people train for and ultimately find employment. It’s easier than ever to pick up new skills online with the explosion in blogs, tutorials, screencasts and online video. For a self-motivated individual of at least average intelligence there is a shrinking number of excuses for not possessing in-demand skills. And jobs and recruiting platforms like Branchout, Jobvite, LinkedIn and Monster.com certainly help job seekers to smooth the path to employment.
But there’s a flip side to the argument that this technological innovation is good for the country. Books like A Whole New Mind, The Great Stagnation and The Lights in the Tunnel make arguments that automation and outsourcing are increasingly pushing jobs outside the country and in many cases, doing away with them altogether (you did see that crazy video of the Diapers.com warehouses didn’t you?). The rate of increasing technological innovation certainly produces new jobs but does it produce jobs at a rate great enough to replace those it might be eliminating?
In a similar vein, many of the companies in Silicon Valley are succeeding precisely because they’re disrupting existing players in their industries. Amazon is doing really well right now (almost $ 10 billion in revenue in the last quarter alone). Borders…not so much. Go iTunes and Spotify. RIP Tower Records. Creative destruction is alive and well but how many people in Silicon Valley are thinking about what happens to that displaced worker at the record store or bookstore?
Maybe something is missing in the Valley and surrounding tech communities and that’s a stronger sense of responsibility to make sure that the vast majority of the country isn’t left behind by all this cool technology that we’re building. In Paul Graham’s essay Great Hackers he points out that the more sophisticated tools become, the greater variation there is in productivity. He writes:
In a low-tech society you don’t see much variation in productivity. If you have a tribe of nomads collecting sticks for a fire, how much more productive is the best stick gatherer going to be than the worst? A factor of two? Whereas when you hand people a complex tool like a computer, the variation in what they can do with it is enormous.
If accumulation of wealth correlates with productivity then, in Graham’s view, increasing variation of wealth might actually be a sign of good things. But could this increase in variation lead to the creation of two almost completely distinct countries in America, one which continues to boom and create enormous wealth for those who reside in it and another for which long-term unemployment and underemployment and the corresponding frustration that accompanies those states becomes the norm?
Megan McArdle wrote a poignant article entitled “Why Unemployment Matters” in last week’s Atlantic where she detailed some of the crushing residual effects of being out of work. It’s worth reading and asking the questions: Can we be doing more about this? Should we even be doing anything about it? The answers to these questions matter a lot. Please share your thoughts in comments.
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