Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Boot up: Google kills Bump, Rockstar v Nexus, and more

Heins and Alicia Keys Thorsten Heins and Alicia Keys in January 2013: ‘Let’s get together in a year and see how great things are!' Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

A burst of 8 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

Back in September, we announced that the Bump team was joining Google to continue our work of helping people share and interact with one another using mobile devices.

We are now deeply focused on our new projects within Google, and we've decided to discontinue Bump and Flock. On January 31, 2014, Bump and Flock will be removed from the App Store and Google Play. After this date, neither app will work, and all user data will be deleted.

We've taken much care to make sure that you can retain any data you have in Bump and Flock. At any point in the next 30 days, simply open either app and and follow the instructions for exporting your data. You'll then receive an email with a link containing all of your data (photos, videos, contacts, etc) from Bump or Flock.

Recall that Rockstar started asserting patents it acquired from Nortel by filing a lawsuit in E.D. Tex. on Halloween against Google and certain Android handset manufacturers (see our Nov. post that also summarises Rockstar's acquisition of Nortel's patents). On Christmas Eve, Google responded by filing a Complaint in N.D. Cal. seeking a declaratory judgment that the patents asserted against Android handsets are not infringed.

On New Year's Eve, Rockstar responded by filing an Amended Complaint against Samsung that adds Google as a co-defendant based on Google's Nexus line of handsets manufactured by Samsung.

Not unexpected. Things are going to get nasty.

A senior Samsung Electronics executive said Thursday the firm is holding working-level discussions with Apple to find a breakthrough in their patent disputes.

"Yes. Working-level discussions are now underway," the top-level Samsung official said, confirming earlier reports by The Korea Times that the two firms have resumed "peace talks" to end their patent feud.

Samsung earlier agreed with Apple to submit a joint settlement proposal before 8 January to the US federal Judge Lucy H. Koh, who has presided over the patent cases since 2011.

They have another trial scheduled for March. They held settlement talks before the 2012 trial. Didn't result in a settlement.

Some Twitter code showing how greetings spread around the world, by country. Neat, and open source too.

Her involvement with the company drew criticism from some outsiders who said, despite the decidedly corporate title, Keys was little more than a celebrity who was brought in to help promote its BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

BlackBerry has insisted that Keys had a more direct involvement in its operations, highlighting her work on a four-year scholarship program that encouraged young women to enter specific science and technology fields.

She did what? That stayed cleverly under the radar. Someone call Justin Bi... oh.

Waly Mossberg (at the new post-AllThingsD site):

I've been a reviewer for a long time, and, like all tech reviewers I know, I've been struck by the vehement ad hominem attacks and baseless accusations made by tech cultists who disagree with all, or even part, of your review.

Of course, if you are in the business of dishing out opinions, you must be prepared to receive contrary points of view. That's fair, and reasonable, and helps one learn. But the tech cultists can't get their heads around the idea that people — anyone, not just a reviewer — might see the same facts about a product or company and come to different conclusions.

Instead, too many of these acolytes resort to accusations of corruption (you were paid to praise a product) or laziness (you must not have really tested it). These kinds of comments, tweets, blog posts and emails come from people who often have never tried, or even held, the product in question.

We're shocked, shocked that that could happen.

Wes Miller of the research company Directions On Microsoft:

For some odd reason, people are fascinated with the idea of ARM-based servers. I've wound up in several debates/discussions with people on Twitter about Windows on ARM servers. I hope it never happens, and I don't believe it will. Moreover, if it does, I believe it will fail.

ARM is ideal for a client platform – especially a clean client platform with no legacy baggage (Android, iOS, etc). It is low-power and highly customizable silicon. Certainly, when you look at data centers, the first thing you'll notice is the energy consumption. Sure, it'd be great if we could conceptually reduce that by using ARM. But I'm really not sure replacing systems running one instruction set with systems running another is really a)viable or b)the most cost effective way to go about making the infrastructure more energy efficient.

David Ruddock tries the first phone to come with CyanogenMod preinstalled. It costs $599, and is a testament to the challenge of achieving subsidy through scale:

The real performance drag, though, is the capacitive buttons. The response time is just awful - I should not feel latency when using capacitive touch buttons. This issue was present on both Color OS and CM, so I have to assume this is a lower-level problem either with the hardware or a driver. It makes using the phone maddening at times. The touch targets on the buttons are also tiny, and the haptic feedback can scarcely claim to be worthy of its own name, it's much too weak to be felt in many situations. The backlights for the buttons are no better, and I often found them too dim in bright sunlight.

This isn't to say the N1 is particularly slow, it's just not the kind of experience - in terms of raw performance - I'd expect after spending $600 on a phone that came out at the end of 2013.

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