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Honest Work

Posted by editor on January 24, 2006 at 8:48 AM PST

Of BlackBerries, patents, and extortion

Timing is a curious thing. About the time our producer was looking at today's feature article on developing J2ME applications for the BlackBerry handheld, the U.S. Supreme Court was issuing a ruling refusing to get involved in a BlackBerry patent case. The patent-infringement case has consistently gone against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM), with the prospect of the company having to shut down the service to comply with a legal injunction. In fact, one of the first comments on the article reads:

How useful is this going to be since RIM has been found guilty of patent infringement and may be required to shut down its network if no agreement can be reached?

Fair enough, but context is necessary. A Fortune magazine commentary from November, BlackBerry Held Hostage does much to explain the situation. It also serves to frame the case as a poster child for how completely and obviously broken the U.S. patent system is, when you consider:

  • The plaintiff in the case, NTP, has never done anything with its patents and apparently never intends to. It exists solely for the purpose of owning patents.
  • Neither NTP, nor anyone else, alleges RIM copied NTP's patents.
  • The Patent and Trademark Office has issued a preliminary invalidation of all 1,921 claims in NTP's eight relevant patents, including all those named in the suit against RIM, with a final decision to come later.

NTP is using the threat of a business-destroying injunction to demand, according to Fortune, that RIM "pay essentially whatever sum NTP names, which some analysts think will approach ten figures." Pretty nice money for not actually doing anything.

Having said all that, it doesn't look to me like there's any endgame that actually puts RIM out of business or shuts off BlackBerries permanently. If NTP destroys the RIM company, there'll be no settlement money, and in time, the Patent Office may finalize its invalidation of the patents in the suit, which makes the entire case moot.

So, I don't mind running BlackBerry content on the site today. Maybe I'll get one someday just to stick it to NTP, once I know that none of my purchase price will go towards buying them off. I do kind of mind that RIM's dev tools are Windows-only, but that's another story...

In today's Feature Article,
An Introduction to BlackBerry J2ME Applications, Edward Lineberry says "For the average Java developer--even one with no experience in J2ME--writing applications for the BlackBerry is fairly easy. In this article, I will give an overview of building a simple user interface, and, because networking is the very heart and strength of the BlackBerry platform, how to transmit data through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server to a CGI servlet."

In today's Weblogs, Annette Vernon says the process of JavaOne speaker notifications is underway. In
Fulfilling Dreams and Shattering Dreams: All in one day, she writes:
"At the top of Today's To Do List: 1) send out notifications for accepted, alternate and declined JavaOne technical sessions..."

Greg Murray sees
AJAX Everywhere
I have a bit silent recently on my blog as I have been traveling around the globe talking with developers and companies about AJAX. I have found that many people and companies are using AJAX today.

How to setup JBoss to work with Sun Java Studio Creator, Dru Devore offers "a guide for setting up JBoss 4.0.1sp1 and JBoss 4.0.3sp1 to work with Sun Java Studio Creator."

In today's Forums,
jwenting rejects a feature-add in the thread
Re: Embedded basic java db engine inside Jdk:
"And why add more CRUD to the core distribution that noone who needs something serious will ever use? Isn't it enough we're lugging around a demonstration JDBC driver, a webserver, etc. etc.? If and when a database engine is needed there will almost always be a need for something more serious than whatever you'd get as standard."

oda66 notes a performance regression in Performance problems when upgrading from JDK1.4.2 to 1.5.0:
"Hello, we have some performance problems after an upgrade from JDK 1.4.2 to 1.5.0 in a fairly large web application running under Windows and Linux with Apache Tomcat/4.1.30. A test process which mainly carries out a extraction/conversion of data (a lot of file I/O operations) slows down by a factor of about 2."

In Projects and
the Tampa Bay JUG is hosting a presentation called "Practical SOA using JINI and Javaspaces" for its meeting next Tuesday (January 31). In this presentation, Dave Zaffery will discuss how to create a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) using Jini and JavaSpaces for the services to show how they can communicate in a loosely-coupled manner. has posted a white paper called A Scalable Architecture for Low Latency Pricing (PDF, 264 KB), which discusses strategies for building a scalable pricing architecture using JavaSpaces grid technology. "The architecture proposed has the potential to be grid-enabled", distributing work to separate nodes of a low-cost cluster.

In Also in
Java Today
some interpreted languages have gained popularity lately, but how do you write an interpreter? One option is to use the JavaCC parser generator. In Writing an Interpreter Using JavaCC, Anand Rajasekar creates a simple syntax for assignments and then walks through the steps of defining it as a context-free grammar and expressing it a form that JavaCC can understand.

"Tapestry is an open-source framework for object-oriented, component-based Java Web application development. Simply put, instead of dealing with the Servlet API or with Struts Actions, the Tapestry programmer stores user data with object properties and handles user actions with event-handling methods." In Rapid Java Web Application Development with Tapestry, John Ferguson Smart "demonstrates a few of the main features of Tapestry, and shows how Tapestry 4, released in December 2005, makes things even easier than previous versions."

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Of BlackBerries, patents, and extortion