patentpundit writes: Microsoft recently had a patent application publish at the US Patent Office related to a graphical representation of the vitality of a person's social network. The patent application seems in important ways to be almost grasping at straws. The specific implementation of the software that would enable such a graphical representation is ill defined and exceptionally non-specific. The patent application also seems to be a hodgepodge of ideas drawn from many other, known social networking and online implementations. For example, if you have a vibrant social network an icon you select could become "nicer," which seems to mean "more tricked out." Such building and rewarding of online bling is reminiscent of many other online games and networks, for example including the kids online social networking slash massively multiplayer online game Club Penguin. In any event, such a non-specific software patent application as this one represents all that is bad with respect to software patents and gives software patent opponents fodder for arguing that software patents as a whole should not be allowed.