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Episode 595: Has HD DVD won?

Wal-Mart is selling a Toshiba HD DVD player for less than $100. Has this put HD DVD over the top?

Wal-Mart has gone crazy, selling a $98 Toshiba HD DVD player. We'll talk about whether this makes HD DVD the winner over Blu-ray. Also, the Zune 2 shows up in the wild, and privacy groups want a 'do not track' list.


Listen now: Download today's podcast



Mike in Brandon
I'm invoicing NBC.

Sterling in Miami
Is the MPAA breaking the law.

DT in Carolinas
Instant live.


U.S. Patent Office trying to do better
T, M, & J:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was blocked yesterday from implementing new rules designed to help fix some of the current problems in the system. This blog is great on patent legal items:

Broadly speaking: The proposed rules would have required that inventors group all of their applications together for the same or very similar inventions and limit the number of claims that they can file. While inventors definitely have some things to be unhappy about with the new rules, in my opinion these rules are the types of thing that needs to be done to fix the patent system.

Going back to Ep 589 where you discussed what a bad job the USPTO does administering the patent system, I'd like to make the following points:

The PTO can't keep someone for applying for a ridiculous patent. Someone can try to patent moon cheese, and they have a right to try. All the PTO can do is turn them down. I think you guys understand this, but when you talk about stupid things inventors try to patent (IBM patent trolling, for example), I think a lot of people think that the government is somehow condoning it by accepting the application. A reminder by our wonderful tech media persons would be nice.

A lot of the bad patents (Amazon one-click) came out when the courts had just created a whole new type of patent that people could apply for called Business Method Patents. It was a very hard transition for the people reviewing these cases and some embarrassing mistakes were made. A lot of the early problems in the application examination process have been fixed.

The fixes for the system will probably have to come from Congress, so everyone can help by contacting your representatives. The PTO has put a lot of money into making the current system work better and have hired thousands of new examiners. Currently most examiners only get around 2 days to work on a single application form start to finish. That includes understanding the new invention, researching the prior art, and the communicating with the patent lawyer (which is a multistep process involving a lot of writing on both sides). The PTO itself can only do so much to change systemic problems because they are constrained by federal law.

I know this may have been a bit if a rant. I apologize. I really appreciate your willingness to discuss IP matters on BOL. It is more important than most people realize and you discussion helps spread the word.

And of course: love the show!

T the patent examiner

P.S. Glad to hear Jason introducing himself, and not qualifying himself as a producer. And his scary-laugh is badass!

New OS problems, eh?
Hey TMJ,

Your disussion in episode 594 about Leopard/Vista bugs made me throw you a Linux chaser of my own. The new Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon is freaking awesome, and I fully suggest you try it out. It used to be that you had to give up on some functionality/compatability to use the free OS, and your ($125-$500 or whatever ridiculous price Windows Vista Fancy Pants Edition is) pays for that difference. No longer!

Why pay some ridiculous price for something that you are gonna run Firefox on 98 percent of the time? Oh yeah, don't forget, Firefox comes preinstalled on Ubuntu too...

Chris the attorney in DC

Re: Rusty's e-mail in Ep 594
Dear Buzz Out Loud,

The following are some corrections to Rusty's e-mail:

"Our handsets are unlocked and all carriers support CDMA."

Fact: Only two carriers support CDMA, of which only one widely made it available. CDMA will be turned off in January 2008 to make way for an 800mhz "next G" HSDPA network.

Most carriers offer only GSM and a 3G solution, of which only one carrier offers 3G outside of capital cities.

All Australian carriers lock handsets unless the handset is bought outright at full cost. If a handset is to be unlocked within a certain time, fees apply and if on a contract, contract must be fully paid, often more than $2000AU.

"I get 24,000K Internet with 10GB of download."

Fact: While many ISPs in Australia offer ADSL2 and ADSL2+, the distances involved means even the ISPs admit that while they sell 20Mb/s plans, only 10-15 percent of users will actually reach this "close to this theoretical maximum speed in metro areas." 90 percent a "minimum of 8Mb/s" in "ideal circumstances." These figures are the same from most major ISPs and the government. Australian broadband remains some of the slowest in the world due to the backbone being built on aging copper wire. At present, wireless solutions are offering up to 14Mb/s but are weighed down with heavier use.

Believe me guys, Australia may be a few hours ahead in time, but we're years behind in tech.

And here's another fact: Canon lenses are 40-60 percent more expensive in Australia than in America. I have purchased numerous lenses from New York retailers online. These are official Canon dealers and I paid in one case just $1800AU including all the freight and import duties for a lens that sells locally for $3600AU. You guys have all the luck.

Adam (but call me John Howard)

Technology inflicted ailments
A Jolt On Sly Mom (anagram for Molly Tom Jason),

After hearing of the latest inflictions, I recalled one of my LifeNotes from a year and a half ago:

My observations of people walking around these days indicate that soon there will be a new debilitation:
Cellbow. Caused by chronic bending of the elbow to support a talking/listening device to the side of the head for long periods of time. Exacerbated by the action of repeated rising and falling with footsteps while walking. Preventative action includes an application of a Bluetooth device, but side effects possibly lead to Ear Flare, or Monolateral Dumboitus.

You heard this here first, and I want naming rights.
Bob D Canandaigua, New York 9may06

Keep up the Buzz.

Hi guys I found this last night and I was blown away. I thought you guys at Buzz town may love it too. It's a demo of a Microsoft program called Photosynth, it uses the SeaDragon Technology. Using just the meta data and the image in a photo, this program can interpret 3D space. You know how you can look at a bunch of photos and you sort of know where everything is, well this program does that. Potentially it can take all photos we have on the Net and use it to create a virtual Earth. Also the data management of this thing is extraordinary. There is a video and a early beta to try out.

Here is the video
Here is the beta to try out


No Halloween in Europe?! Erm...Ireland...
This isn't tech related, but jeez guys, Halloween is celebrated in Ireland, it was in fact invented here. It started off as the Celtic Samhain festival (pronounced sawan) and when the Irish immigrants went to America they took the festival with them.

Love the show,
Ed from Dublin

Sprint WiMax
Dear Buzz,

I heard on your recent show an e-mail suggesting a December release of WiMax. Well as a Sprint employee, I can tell you that listener was partially right. Xohm is launching in December as an employee-only soft launch. Think of it as a beta trial. It's going to be a few lucky Chicago and Washington DC sprint employees that get to test it out while Sprint and its partners fine-tune the network and make sure everything is good to go. In Jan. or Feb. they'll conducting a public soft launch where they?ll let a lucky few residents of the before mentioned cities test it. If everything goes well with those trials, then in April the service will go to market, starting in Chicago and Washington DC in the beginning, and Boston and others by the end of April and early May.

Anonymous Sprint employee