concealment writes: "As they grew their enormously successful online services, Google and Amazon needed new ways of storing massive amounts of data across an ever-growing number of servers, so each created a new software platform that could do so. Google built BigTable. Amazon built Dynamo. And after these internet giants published research papers describing these sweeping data stores, so many other outfits sought to duplicate them.
The result was an army of “NoSQL” databases specifically designed to run across thousands of servers. These new-age software platforms — including Cassandra, HBase, and Riak — remade the database landscape, helping to run so many other web giants, including Facebook and Twitter, but also more traditional businesses."
concealment writes: "In something of a follow up to This American Life's famous episode about the horrors of software patents, the Planet Money team brought on Mark Lemley to talk about how to fix the patent system. If you're aware of Lemley (or read Techdirt) what he talks about isn't all that surprising. He does note that, even if software patents are particularly silly, he doesn't agree with trying to carve them out specifically. Instead, he's still mostly focused on fixing the patent system by properly enforcing the laws already on the books. That means having the USPTO and the courts actually recognize that too many software patents are on general ideas ("functional claiming") when that's not allowed.
Next, the courts and the USPTO need to get much better at rejecting patents for obviousness. He doesn't quite get into how to do this, though I'm still a big fan of using independent invention as a sign of obviousness. He does note that the KSR case (which isn't named in the story) helped move the needle just slightly in the right direction. In that case, the court noted that merely combining two existing inventions is obvious. From there, he suggests recognizing how many patents stack up into an existing innovation — and what that means. So, using the 250,000 patents in a smartphone as an example, he notes that it's ridiculous for any one patent to hold up innovation in such a scenario, pointing to the MercExchange ruling (again, not named) that said the courts shouldn't issue automatic injunctions for infringement. In other words, when you have 250,000 patents in a smartphone, infringing on one shouldn't hold up the entire device."
concealment writes: "In a digital world where many younger readers feel increasingly comfortable downloading novels and textbooks onto their computers or e-readers, a majority of Americans from the ages of 16 through 29 still frequent libraries.
According to a study released Monday by the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of Americans surveyed in this age group said they still visited the library. They use libraries to conduct research, borrow print, audio and electronic books and, in some cases, read magazines and newspapers."
concealment writes: "At the end of August this year, the US Department of Transport's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new standards to significantly improve the fuel economy of cars and light trucks by 2025. Last week, we took a look at a range of recent engine technologies that car companies have been deploying in aid of better fuel efficiency today. But what about the cars of tomorrow, or next week? What do Detroit, or Stuttgart, or Tokyo have waiting in the wings that will get to the Obama administration's target of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025?"