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Old 09-08-2012, 12:59 PM   #21
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Where are you going with this, and how is it relevant to electoral politics?
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Old 09-08-2012, 02:06 PM   #22
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It's not, but I find the tangent this thread went on, interesting.

P.S. On topic, Obama just probably used the popular image of Jobs. And he may actually not know any better.
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:31 PM   #23
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Fair enough.

To be honest, my knowledge of the later history of Apple isn't as comprehensive, as I kid of lost interest in the company during the mid to late 80s. This story will also be a tad long-winded, as it begins in a far earlier era, one with which I am deeply familiar. There is much more history behind the iThings than most people realize.

For the purpose of the following, bear in mind that the Mac was introduced in 1984, Jobs was fired* in 1985, and he re-joined the company as de-facto CEO in 1997.


In the late 60s and early to mid 70s, researcher Alan Kay formulated the description for a computer which he called the Dynabook. The Dynabook was envisioned as a roughly book-shaped device combining a flat display screen, a long-lived battery, and access to a large repository of information. Kay envisioned that such a machine would be an invaluable tool not just for adults, but for children as well. (Remember that in the late 1960s, the idea that a child might use a computer, much less own one, was ludicrous.)

This was, of course, a purely academic exercise as the technology to create such a machine did not exist at the time. But Kay was an academic and self-styled futurist who intended his vision to influence the thinking of computer scientists in the decades to come. You can read a 1972 paper written by Kay while at Xerox PARC here: http://www.mprove.de/diplom/gui/Kay72a.pdf


In 1993, seven years after Jobs' departure, Apple released the first MessagePad (aka Newton). This device was the very first of the free-form graphical PDAs, predating the PalmPilot, HP Journada and others by several years. A number of different MessagePads were produced, ranging in size and power from small PDAs to devices which were comparable to what we call a "Tablet PC" today.


After Jobs' return to the company, he decided to re-assert his dominance as Alpha Dog by adopting the same tactics which had resulted in his ousting a decade earlier. He promptly terminated nearly all ongoing R&D operations (including Newton, the company's first internet suite CyberDog, and the OpenDoc framework), held routine (and seemingly random) layoffs, and as I mentioned earlier, eliminated all clone makers.

Shortly thereafter, the first generation of "real" Tablet PCs began to be introduced by companies such as Fujitsu, Toshiba and HP. These computers generally ran fully-featured operating systems (eg: Windows 95/98/ME) and were therefore fully compatible with applications written for desktop PCs.

Because of their desktop-centric OSes, these machines suffered certain drawbacks. One was the fact that touchscreen technology of the day generally still required a stylus for input, as it had in the earlier PDAs (including the MessagePad / Newton.) Another was that the applications software of the day had in general been engineered with the expectation that input would be derived from a keyboard and a mouse with the ability to host two buttons, click-and-drag, etc. As an owner of one of these machines myself (I use a first-gen fuji for Megasquirt tuning) I can attest to the fact that stylus-based input on a resistive screen in this context is... imperfect.


In 2002, Jobs was attending the birthday party of a Microsoft researcher who was the husband of a friend of Jobs’ wife. Jobs recalled the meeting in his biography with Walter Isaacson:
This guy badgered me about how Microsoft was going to completely change the world with this tablet PC (…) But he was doing the device all wrong. It had a stylus. As soon as you have a stylus, you’re dead. This dinner was like the tenth time he talked to me about it, and I was so sick of it that I came home and said, “**** it, let’s show him what a tablet can really be.”
Jobs then set to work, sketching out the design for Apple’s own tablet PC, which would have a square display with, get this, a keyboard beneath it. In an interview given with Walt Mossberg in early 2003, Jobs noted that
It turns out that people want a keyboard. I mean, when I started in this business, one of the big challenges was people couldn’t type, you know, and one day we realized that death would eventually take care of this.”
For those who clicked on the PDF I linked to above, Jobs’ design, insofar as the form-factor, was nearly an identical copy of the Dynabook pictured on page 6 of that document. Remember that Jobs had visited PARC in the early 80s while stealing the concept of the mouse-based GUI for use on the Lisa, so it is probable that he had seen Kay's design concepts for the Dynabook at that time.

Fortunately (for Apple), cooler heads prevailed and Jobs was soon able to be distracted away from this design. Incidentally, in the same interview as quoted above, Jobs denied Apple’s plans to produce a Tablet PC.

It is interesting to note that, at this time, Jobs was unable to envision a use for mobile computers which involved primarily the consumption of information rather than the generation of information. A computer which is designed to deliver data to the user without the expectation of the user inputting much data into the machine would naturally not require a keyboard, and this is precisely the paradigm under which the modern tablet operates. This is especially ironic given that the graphical world-wide-web had already gained mass-acceptance by 2002/2003, and text-based input was even then becoming a relic of the past.


During this time, of course, the then-new iPod was rapidly gaining in popularity and market-share, attracting a number of competitors, none successful. In 2004, Motorola approached Apple with a request to license its iPod technology for incorporation into a cell phone. Apple agreed, and the product of this partnership was the Motorola Rokr E1. The phone sold modestly well, but technological problems combined with Motorola’s perception of Apple being a difficult company to work with led them to partner with RealPlayer for the Rokr E2 in 2006.

In typical fashion, Jobs was infuriated by this perceived insult, and embarked upon another “**** You” design campaign. Fortunately for Apple, Jobs had already secretly been planning to backstab Motorola by partnering with Cingular Wireless prior to the Rokr’s release, and this partnership yielded what is today known as the iPhone.


As for the iPad, you remember Jobs’ earlier argument at the birthday party?

By the late 2000s, Tablet PCs in their original form had been all but abandoned by the Intel/Windows crowd, but a new technology had emerged: the e-reader. Devices such as Amazon’s Kindle were, in fact, perhaps the truest interpretation yet of Alan Kay’s Dynabook concept, and represented a casual-use marketspace which Apple had not yet been successful in penetrating.


Enough time had now gone by since the termination of the Newton project (and the abandonment of tablet PCs in general in the early 2000s) that Jobs could tout the Tablet PC as his own invention, but only if Apple entered the market before Kindle-like devices were able to evolve beyond static display of books into interactive computer-like devices, and before the Android system (which at the time was, like iOS, restricted only to smartphones) could leverage its open-source appeal to potential competitors from Asia.

The iPhone project had given Apple a head-start in both advanced touchscreen input and the development of “apps” which scaled well into the non-keyboarding world, thus enabling Jobs to ret-con his earlier objection to keyboard-less computing. And shortly after the release of the iPhone, the second half of the story fell into place when Jobs was shown a copy of a video produced in 1994 by Knight-Ridder News, showcasing a design idea created (but never patented) by technological visionary Roger Fidler. In it, Fidler demonstrates and describes a physical mockup of his design, and predicts how it will function in a manner which, in hindsight, is nearly indistinguishable from a modern-day iPad. (Except for Angry Birds. Fidler missed the boat on that one.)

With both the technology of the iPhone and the design inspiration of Fidler’s concept, Jobs was able to pull a repeat performance of his 1976 success and direct Apple to “invent” the tablet PC. Jobs borrowed heavily from the Fidler design (right down to the shiny black cover and rounded corners) and the rest is history.





* = whether Jobs was technically fired or not continues to this day to be the subject of some debate. Jobs himself always maintained that he was fired, while then-CEO John Sculley claimed that Jobs had resigned. What is known is that Apple’s board of directors had ordered Sculley to “contain” Jobs, and “limit his ability to launch expensive forays into untested products” (eg: Lisa2, Mac XL.) When Jobs learned of this directive, he attempted to stage a coup and oust Sculley from Apple. When Sculley learned of this and revealed it to the board, it voted to strip Jobs of all managerial authority. That Jobs did technically resign seems plausible, given that subsequent to this meeting, Jobs was instructed to move his office out of the “Bandley 3” building which housed the Macintosh division headquarters and into a building located some distance away from the main campus, whose sole occupants were himself, his secretary, and one security guard.

Last edited by Joe Perez; 09-09-2012 at 07:47 PM. Reason: schpelling
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:43 PM   #24
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Arguably, "you didn't build that" applies to Jobs as well, lol.
Thanks for typing the above.

P.S. Joking aside, Obama's famous utterance is silly.
Of course nobody builds things in a vacuum. But the idea that you should be *forced* to share the fruits of your labor and innovation is ludicrous. (But said fruits shouldn't be gathered via political means)
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:51 PM   #25
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As is befitting the thread title:

Attached Thumbnails
The President of the United States is an idiot.-hngovybow0afao02meiltg2.jpg  
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:28 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by triple88a View Post
Well hes right, other people suffering made Jobs who he is now
Who's suffering? his competition?
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:29 AM   #27
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Who's suffering? his competition?
Wut competishun?
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:56 AM   #28
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Competition is the people who "stole" Apple's IP that they totally made themselves and didn't copy from anyone despite the large mountain of evidence to the contrary.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:02 PM   #29
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my mother and aunt went to see him in downtown WPB.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:06 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
As is befitting the thread title:




Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Arguably, "you didn't build that" applies to Jobs as well, lol.
Thanks for typing the above.

P.S. Joking aside, Obama's famous utterance is silly.
Of course nobody builds things in a vacuum. But the idea that you should be *forced* to share the fruits of your labor and innovation is ludicrous. (But said fruits shouldn't be gathered via political means)
I could go a couple of ways here.


You've often espoused the philosophy that the legal recognition of intellectual property rights via patent and trademark protection, in general, is a bad thing. In a hypothetical world without these protections, one could well argue that nobody had actually invented anything on their own since fire and the wheel. There would be less incentive to create truly original innovations, and no incentive at all to prove that you'd actually done so rather than just copying someone else.


But on a more serious note, the President's "you didn't build that" message just doesn't work in this context.

In any civilized society, some degree of collectivism is inescapable. Doesn't matter whether it's a tribal agrarian culture, a communist dictatorship, or an industrialized capitalist nation.

The famed astronomer Carl Sagan once wrote that "if you wish to truly make an apple pie from scratch, first you must create the universe." And it's true that the baker does benefit from having a planet with gravity and an atmosphere to stand on, apple trees from which to pluck apples, a foreknowledge of how to make fire in order to bake the pie, and so on. But this does not at all diminish the accomplishment of pie-making, given that these amenities (gravity, fire, applies) are equally available to all, and yet not all create apple pies.

In the same way, the only things which Jobs relied upon to "create" Apple Computer were also available to everyone else living in the United States in the mid 1970s. He didn't found the Homebrew Computer Club in Menlo Park, but many such clubs existed and membership was free to all. He didn't create the schematics to the Apple 1, but Woz freely shared them with all who asked. He didn't design the 6502 microprocessor which it used, but MOS Technology was practically giving them away inside boxes of Geek Flakes cereal.

Jobs, in fact, had almost nothing going for him aside from the "baseline" of civilized society which every white American in the early 1970s had access to. He wasn't privileged to attend Harvard like Gates and Allen, where they had access to copious amounts of free mainframe computer time and the inspiration of some of the finest minds of their generation. He wasn't raised by PhD professors who inspired him to learn about science and technology like Page and Brin. He didn't even have any money- the sale of his old VW Bus (along with Woz's HP digital calculator) provided the startup capitol to build the first production run on Apple 1s.

In every way that matters, Jobs most certain did "build that." He built an empire.



What really stands out in the President's speech, however, is the specific context of Jobs' invocation. He spoke of "an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college" as being the prerequisite for the creation of the next Steve Jobs. And that's just so far detached from the real story of Steve Jobs, the product of a blue-collar family who was uninspired in school and dropped out of a liberal arts college after one semester, that it's almost incomprehensible.

Last edited by Joe Perez; 09-10-2012 at 01:17 PM. Reason: Sagan. Not Saga.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:10 PM   #31
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i donated a $100 pair of dress pants this weekend; amoung other things.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:11 PM   #32
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Agreed 100% with the paragraph invoking Sagan.

Re: IP - I've read both sides of the argument, and I suspect that the world would be a better place overall if there were no IP, but this would require a bunch of other changes (i.e. a much free-er society), and of course it is all conjecture. Right now if all else is maintained as-is, an IP overhaul is the most realistic way to improve things.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:19 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Re: IP - I've read both sides of the argument, and I suspect that the world would be a better place overall if there were no IP, but this would require a bunch of other changes (i.e. a much free-er society), and of course it is all conjecture. Right now if all else is maintained as-is, an IP overhaul is the most realistic way to improve things.
+1

The 20 year patent protection originates in a law created in 1861. Why should we expect it to be appropriate for things like computer hardware and software?
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:34 PM   #34
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As a person that makes their living creating IP, I find this stance completely retarded. I'm supposed to slave for a company, but you can steal what I create with no consequence? Good luck getting anything new made or invented.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:45 PM   #35
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I'm just going to quote my friend here:

Quote:
Patents and copyrights are the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man’s right to the product of his mind.

What the patent and copyright laws acknowledge is the paramount role of mental effort in the production of material values; these laws protect the mind’s contribution in its purest form: the origination of an idea. The subject of patents and copyrights is intellectual property.

An idea as such cannot be protected until it has been given a material form. An invention has to be embodied in a physical model before it can be patented; a story has to be written or printed. But what the patent or copyright protects is not the physical object as such, but the idea which it embodies. By forbidding an unauthorized reproduction of the object, the law declares, in effect, that the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object’s value, that that value is created by the originator of the idea and may not be used without his consent; thus the law establishes the property right of a mind to that which it has brought into existence.

It is important to note, in this connection, that a discovery cannot be patented, only an invention. A scientific or philosophical discovery, which identifies a law of nature, a principle or a fact of reality not previously known, cannot be the exclusive property of the discoverer because: (a) he did not create it, and (b) if he cares to make his discovery public, claiming it to be true, he cannot demand that men continue to pursue or practice falsehoods except by his permission. He can copyright the book in which he presents his discovery and he can demand that his authorship of the discovery be acknowledged, that no other man appropriate or plagiarize the credit for it—but he cannot copyright theoretical knowledge. Patents and copyrights pertain only to the practical application of knowledge, to the creation of a specific object which did not exist in nature—an object which, in the case of patents, may never have existed without its particular originator; and in the case of copyrights, would never have existed.

The government does not “grant” a patent or copyright, in the sense of a gift, privilege, or favor; the government merely secures it—i.e., the government certifies the origination of an idea and protects its owner’s exclusive right of use and disposal.
Quote:
As an objection to the patent laws, some people cite the fact that two inventors may work independently for years on the same invention, but one will beat the other to the patent office by an hour or a day and will acquire an exclusive monopoly, while the loser’s work will then be totally wasted. This type of objection is based on the error of equating the potential with the actual. The fact that a man might have been first, does not alter the fact that he wasn’t. Since the issue is one of commercial rights, the loser in a case of that kind has to accept the fact that in seeking to trade with others he must face the possibility of a competitor winning the race, which is true of all types of competition.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:53 PM   #36
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IP law is a tough nut.

Clearly the system is much more easily abused in the 21st century than it was in the days of Benjamin Franklin. Patent trolling has become recognized as a legitimate profit-making scheme at traditional corporations, and while I wouldn't go so far as to say that this stifles innovation (innovators gonna innovate), it certainly complicates the inventive process and disproportionately burdens companies and inventors who are less able to amass patent portfolios and pay for legal counsel.


On the other hand, we already have modern-day examples of what happens when there is little to no IP protection as well.

One extremist example would be that of soviet-era Russia. While they were often successful at cranking out innovation at the barrel of a gun (space race, arms race, etc) very little in the way of private innovation took place behind the iron curtain, either in the way of artistic expression such as cinema or in technological innovation. The soviet computer industry, for example, consisted almost entirely of copying western technologies- they didn't really invent anything of their own. Their "big" computers were mostly clones of machines from DEC and IBM, and their PCs were typically copies of designs from US and UK companies like Apple, TRS, Sinclair and IBM. They even built their own knockoffs of popular CPUs like the 6502 and 8086.

Was this "good" for the Russian people? Well, it meant that they had access to cheaper computers (since there was no need for R&D), but it also meant that they trailed behind western nations in computing performance. And, of course, the Russians contributed almost nothing at all to advancing the state-of-the-art in general.


China, today, is in a very similar position. There's been a lot of press lately surrounding the new iPhone in China, and how local Chinese companies have been busy producing lookalike clones of it. Same goes for their auto industry- have you actually looked at a Lifan 320, a Shaunghaun Noble, or a Great Wall Coolbear? Virtually indistinguishable from a Mini Cooper, a Smart Fortwo and a Scion xB, respectively. (Those are just a few random examples.) Hell, we've even seen TV transmitters scattered around Asia which are almost indistinguishable from Harris-made designs of the 1990s, except for the lack of the word "Harris" printed on the front. They even copied our paint colors. Repeat ad nauseum for consumer appliances, consumer electronics, and so forth. Heck, you'd have a hard time buying a DVD in most Chinese cities that wasn't bootlegged.

Like the Russians before them, and unlike their contemporary counterparts in Taiwain and South Korea, Chinese mainlanders seem unwilling to actually bother inventing anything on their own. And why should they, when it's so much easier to just duplicate the designs of others? Now, is this rally beneficial to anyone? Does it make the Chinese "better" as a society?
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:58 PM   #37
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Most patents are fine. I only have a problem with 2 kinds of patents. Software patents, and genetic patents.

Software is already protected by copyright, and the effect of software patents is that established companies can (and do) push out small businesses and individuals. The entire point of a patent is to hold the knowledge contained in the patent for public good once the patent has expired. But that doesn't apply to software patents, since there isn't any actual code on the patent, at best what you get is a lawyer describing what it is that the code does.

As for patents on the human genome, well, I shouldn't really have to explain that one, should I?

Also, one thing I forgot. Every single SIGNIFICANT software invention came before software patents were granted.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:00 PM   #38
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Quote:
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On the other hand, we already have modern-day examples of what happens when there is little to no IP protection as well.

One extremist example would be that of soviet-era Russia. While they were often successful at cranking out innovation at the barrel of a gun (space race, arms race, etc) very little in the way of private innovation took place behind the iron curtain, either in the way of artistic expression such as cinema or in technological innovation.
How might one separate the effects of lack of IP law from the effects of lack of profit motive when evaluating the reasons for the lack of private innovation in Soviet Russia?

Is it coherent to even talk about private innovation in the context of Soviet Russia, unless we are referring to the black or grey markets?
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:08 PM   #39
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Also I should point out that the constitutional basis for IP is the public good, not because an inventor deserves it.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:14 PM   #40
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Also I should point out that the constitutional basis for IP is the public good, not because an inventor deserves it.

uh huh.

"That, on the principle of a communion of property, small societies may exist in habits of virtue, order, industry, and peace, and consequently in a state of as much happiness as Heaven has been pleased to deal out to imperfect humanity, I can readily conceive, and indeed, have seen its proofs in various small societies which have been constituted on that principle. But I do not feel authorized to conclude from these that an extended society, like that of the United States or of an individual State, could be governed happily on the same principle." --Thomas Jefferson to Cornelius Camden Blatchly, 1822. ME 15:399
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