петак, 04. октобар 2013.

Patent troll Lodsys backs out of lawsuit at last minute to avoid a ruling on its claims


Notorious patent troll Lodsys abandoned a lawsuit on the eve of a trial rather than face the possibility of losing on the merits of his claims, according to the defendant in the case. Security firm Kaspersky Labs, one of dozens of defendants in Lodsys' two-year-old lawsuit over claims related to in-app purchases, said in a blog post today that Lodsys settled its claims without winning any concessions from Kaspersky. "Churchill was right: 'Never give up,'" company founder Eugene Kaspersky wrote. "We’ve followed his advice in our fight against a particular troll. As a result the troll gave up and ran away with nothing and its tail between its legs." "Churchill was right: 'Never give up.'" Lodsys earned its "troll" sobriquet by basing its business on buying technology patents and then using them to sue other businesses for alleged infringement of those patents. In this case, patents on obtaining user feedback from fax machines were being used to extract payments for modern-day technologies like in-app purchases. The other 54 companies sued by Lodsys in the case settled, Kaspersky says, presumably for money. But faced with the prospect of losing to Kaspersky at trial — which would destroy the value of the patents at issue — Lodsys settled. The judge in the case dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought again. The judge further ordered that each side pay its own legal fees. Patent cases are often prohibitively expensive for smaller technology companies to fight — the average case is said to start at $1 million and often costs much more. Often, losing the case would threaten to bankrupt the company being sued. But as Kaspersky's experience shows, patent fights aren't unwinnable. His victory could bring hope to the next company that finds itself targeted by Lodsys' attorneys.

Netflix updates iOS app for HD streaming and AirPlay


Netflix has updated its iOS app to support HD streaming and AirPlay. After noting that HD streaming was coming well over a year ago, today's update apparently brings high-quality video to iOS devices for the first time. We've been unable to get the feature working in either the UK or the US. We had similar issues with AirPlay. The update claims to enable AirPlay streaming for iOS 7, so long as you disable AirPlay mirroring. We've been unable to stream anything but audio to an Apple TV, however, and also don't see the dedicated AirPlay button within the new app as depicted in Netflix's promotional imagery. It's not clear why the new functions aren't working right now, but it could be a case of Apple offering up the app update before Netflix's web-based interface is ready. We've reached out to Netflix for clarification on the new features, and will update this article when we hear back.

LG could follow Samsung with curved-screen 'G Flex' phone next month


LG is planning to introduce a curved-screen smartphone called the G Flex this November. CNET reports that the Korean manufacturer will match Samsung's plan to sell a highly-curved handset, with the G Flex apparently set to feature a six-inch concave display. Although the phone could be one of the first to feature a long-awaited flexible OLED display, it won't be flexible itself. Instead, the OLED tech will enable a more dramatic curve than previously possible with conventional methods. Samsung has already created OLED-based devices with a slight curve, namely the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus Google phones. The news comes just a week after Samsung announced it was ready to "introduce a curved display smartphone in October." Both companies are heavily invested in OLED technologies, and have a history of one-upping and aping each other's products. The pair are already producing curved OLED televisions, so the idea of introducing such displays into smartphones isn't be a huge leap. CNET has a highly-pixelated sketch of what LG's new handset might look like on its site, but doesn't offer up any details as to the specs or price of the rumored smartphone.

'Doctor Who' star signs up for Fox's 'Broadchurch' remake


Fox has cast David Tennant to reprise his role in the US remake of Broadchurch. The Scottish star, most famous for his portrayal of the Doctor in Doctor Who, has signed up for the eight-episode series, which will debut next year on Fox. The original UK version of Broadchurch starred Tennant as Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, a tortured divorcé struggling with illness that investigates the death of a boy in a quiet seaside town. The show was extremely popular in the UK, and has been renewed for a second season. Although Tennant played the male lead in the UK series, it was his co-star Olivia Colman who gained the most plaudits. As Colman is a relatively unknown figure outside the US, however, Fox may opt to have an American actress fill her shoes for the remake. Production of the new series is slated to begin in January, with the premiere episode set to be written by the UK show's creator and writer Chris Chibnall, who will also be executive producer of the entire season. It hasn't been decided if the show will be renamed for US audiences. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Chibnall says he's "fascinated to see this story in a different landscape," adding that "the DNA of the original is absolutely intact... it should still feel just as vibrant, interesting, strange, unique, and beautiful, but just in a different setting."

Remembering a friendship with Nintendo's reclusive boss


Ex-president of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi, died in September. Mysterious, imperious, and more than a little scary, Yamauchi earned a semi-mythical status in the games industry for his bold decision making and shrewd judgement — judgement that turned Nintendo into one of the world's foremost videogame companies. Yamauchi's position at the top meant few outside of Japan got to know him personally. One of those few was Henk Rodgers, now a veteran game publisher and co-founder of The Tetris Company. Rodgers first moved to Japan in the late 1970s, and managed to get an audience with Yamauchi at a time when the Nintendo president was snubbing some of the biggest players in the business. Rodgers recalls his time with Yamauchi in this excellent piece for Wired as he charts his first meeting with the man, remembers how he introduced Tetris to the Nintendo boss, and explains how the two grew to be friends.

1Password for Mac gets first major overhaul in four years


1Password is one of our favorite apps. The cross-platform password manager makes it a breeze to log into websites or get to our sensitive information, as you only have to remember a single master password to access all your data. However, the 1Password desktop client hasn't seen an update since 2009 — unless you count Retina Display support — and the latest OS X 10.9 Mavericks actually includes a built in iCloud Keychain that mimics some of 1Password's functions. It's not the first time that developer AgileBits has found itself at odds with Apple's walled garden, but the company's not going down without a fight. The new 1Password 4 for Mac, launching today, brings a complete redesign. Multiple vaults, Wi-Fi sync There's a huge list of over 90 enhancements, according to the company, but the big ones are these: an interface overhaul "with Mavericks and simplicity in mind," enhanced security, and the new ability to create multiple password vaults and share them with friends or colleagues. You can also share individual items via email or iMessage. While 1Password traditionally syncs passwords and the like through Dropbox, you can now use iCloud as well, or if you'd rather not send data to the internet at all you can sync directly to an iPhone or iPad running 1Password 4 over Wi-Fi. There's also 1Password Mini, which you can see in the picture at the very top: it's pretty self-descriptive, simply giving you access to your data from the menubar. Not last, and not least, 1Password says the new app includes a new browser extension which supports the Opera browser, and offers a consistent user interface across browsers thanks to Cocoa. AgileBits says that anyone who purchased 1Password in 2013 or via the Mac App Store can get the new version for free. Other existing customers can get the upgrade for $24.99, and new customers for $39.99, for a limited time.

Apple finally resumes iOS push email in Germany


After being forced to switch off the service in February 2012, Apple has resumed push email in Germany. As GigaOm reports, Apple has confirmed that push is now reenabled through a note on its support site. Apple disabled push for all iOS devices last year after Motorola won a patent battle in German courts. The company continues to contest the decision, however, and in August won an interim decision during the appeal process, posting a €100 million ($136 million) bond to resume service as normal. According to Apple's support site, push is now enabled for Germans with iCloud, Yahoo, AOL, QQ, and NetEase email accounts