The first patent (the one filed in 1997) describes a PIM a la microsoft exchange. The second patent (the one filed in 1999) distinctly mentions relationships and granting permission to view personal information. The 2008 patent just seems to adjust the claims to fit a current social network.
Twitter doesn't store personal details. Even putting a name in your profile name is optional. How can they provide information they don't even collect?
Dropbox's beta builds have LAN sync.
Mike writes "Kyocera recently unveiled a kinetic energy-powered phone with a flexible OLED display that can be folded up like a wallet. Dubbed the EOS phone, the display unfolds to reveal a wide screen, and shape memory allows the phone's keys to pop up when in use and blend in with the surface during downtime. Best of all, the phone's soft, semi-rigid polymer skin is embedded with an array of tiny piezoelectric generators — the more you use the phone, the more it charges!" So far, it's just a design idea — but a cool one.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Dan Tynan offers up 7 'even dirtier IT jobs' in a follow-up of last year's 7 dirtiest jobs in IT. Number four? Zombie console monkey. 'Wanted: Individuals with low self-esteem and high boredom threshold willing to spend long hours poring over server logs and watching blinking lights on a network console.'"
Trigger writes "At our work we were decomissioning six old HP/Compaq servers to clear up space for new servers and, naturally, each server had a fairly large raid array. Instead of formatting every hard drive (would have taken weeks performing a DoD level wipe) and disposing them all together with the servers, I decided to disassemble the hard drives and recycle them into something neat. With a lot (a lot) of patience, I made this shiny Xmas tree. In total there are around 70 old SCSI hard drives, between 9gb and 18gb in size each. They were nice and chunky, oldschool style. There were quite a few different hard drive models, which is good because they each had different bits which I could use. The Xmas tree is made with parts from hard drives only except for one nut which I had to purchase for $0.39." It's good to see that this guy has plenty to do at work.
Erris writes "Opendotdotdot has good news about laws in the EU: 'EU culture ministers yesterday (20 November) rejected French proposals to curb online piracy through compulsory measures against free downloading ... [and instead pushed] for "a fair balance between the various fundamental rights" while fighting online piracy, first listing "the right to personal data protection," then "the freedom of information" and only lastly "the protection of intellectual property." [This] indicates that the culture ministers and their advisers are beginning to understand the dynamics of the Net, that throttling its use through crude instruments like the "three strikes and you're out" is exactly the wrong thing to do.'"
vm writes "According to Mozilla and other sources, Firefox 2 and Gecko 1.8 will soon be left behind some time in mid-December. The end result: no future security or stability updates. This will affect Thunderbird 2, SeaMonkey 1.1, Camino 1.5, and any other projects based on Gecko 1.8. So, if you haven't already upgraded, there's no time like the present."
An anonymous reader writes "The French Senate has approved a three strikes law for Internet users who download copyrighted entertainment media without paying for it. If, after two warnings, a person continues to download pirated music and movies, the internet service providers would cut off access for a year. Quoting: 'The legislation passed with a massive cross-party majority of 297 votes to 15. Only a handful of conservatives, centrists and socialists voted against, while the Communists abstained. In passing the bill, the senators rejected an amendment proposed by senator Bruno Retailleau of the right-wing MPF party replacing internet cut-off with a fine. ... The bill sets up a tussle between France and Brussels. In September, the European Parliament approved by a large majority an amendment outlawing internet cut-off." We discussed the introduction of this legislation several months ago.
Will F. Johnston writes "Voters in AK, AR, AZ, CO, DC, FL, GA, HI, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, OH, PA, TN, TX, and VA must register to vote by tomorrow, October 6, in order to vote in November. Other deadlines coming up soon: IL and NM are October 7. MT is Oct. 6, but you can do same-day registration at the elections office. UT is also Oct. 6, but you can register in person until the 20th."
An anonymous reader writes with news that ArtistDirect, the company who acquired MediaDefender, has launched another company called PiCast for the purpose of P2P video distribution. The reader says: "This is a strange twist for a company which last year set up a video-sharing site called Miivi in an attempt to entrap users uploading copyrighted content, and was caught launching a DoS attack against Revision3, which we discussed earlier this year."
LawWatcher writes "On October 1, 2008, a federal judge in California upheld a class action claiming that Apple and AT&T Mobility's five-year exclusive voice and data service provider agreement for the iPhone violates the anti-monopoly provisions of the antitrust laws. The court also ruled that Apple may have violated federal and California criminal computer fraud and abuse statutes by releasing version 1.1.1 of its iPhone operating software when Apple knew that doing so would damage or destroy some iPhones that had been 'unlocked' to enable use of a carrier other than AT&T."
i4u writes "Engadget is reporting that Wicked Lasers has introduced The Torch. It is the world's brightest and most powerful flashlight. The Flashlight is capable of melting plastic, lighting paper on fire within seconds, and if you like, fry an egg or a marshmallow on a stick. At 4100 lumens, The Torch is 100 lumens more powerful than The Polarion Helios, the former most powerful flashlight, and retails for around $300. The Torch is apparently also undergoing review at the Guinness Book of World Records."
beadfulthings writes "After eight years and some $65 million, the state of Maryland is taking its first steps to return to an accountable, paper-ballot based voting system. Governor Martin O'Malley has announced an initial outlay of $6.5 million towards the $20 million cost of an optical system which will scan and tally the votes while the paper ballots are retained as a backup. The new (or old) system is expected to be in place by 2010 — or four years before the state finishes paying off the bill for the touch-screen system."