Australian tech office wins appeal: Buffalo sinks further into the hole as it loses its appeal against a judgement over its use of what the Australian CSIRO technical agency asserts is its patented technology used in all 802.11 implementations. The case, in the patent-holder-friendly US Eastern District Court of Texas--a venue that may be dethroned as a forum coveniens for patentholders' suits in new legislation--prevents Buffalo from importing or selling gear in the US with Wi-Fi technology embedded. In Japan, the patent office threw out CSIRO's patent. While Cisco paid CSIRO as the result of an acquisition of an Australian company a few years ago, most US-based technology giants are involved in resisting the patent's continued validation and enforcement. I've read the patent and some of the suits, and as a non-patent expert, it's clear CSIRO original invention didn't cover what's at stake. However, CSIRO was allowed in a subsequent filing to extend its patent to cover already-in-use technology in a way that seems odd to me, but happens in patents all the time. Many millions of dollars and many more years may be expended before a resolution happens. CSIRO apparently isn't asking for insane fees, although anything paid to them would be passed along to consumers. If companies settled, this might result in an increase of 1 to 5 percent on retail prices. It may ultimately effect WiMax, too, though no suits in that area have been filed.
Finding Zune-Fi: Ina Fried of News.com wanders the polite streets of San Francisco in search of Zune connections over Wi-Fi. She finds a few, and has a good experience. One cafe owner sees the ease with which she can stream music and calls it cool. She can't connect at the long-running Google-sponsored free Wi-Fi at Union Square, however, which means the Wi-Fi likely has an accept button that must be pressed. Surely Microsoft could insert a little technology that would allow a browser-free acceptance of terms? Probably involves Yet Another Protocol: the Wi-Fi Terms Browser-Free Presentation Protocol (WTBFPP).
Kodak adds interesting Wi-Fi enabled all-in-one: The new Kodak ESP 9 is a multi-function printer (fax, scan, print, copy) that connects to a network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. The $300 device spits out 30 pages per minutes in color, 32 ppm in black only. Kodak claims that the model line to which the ESP belongs uses ink in a vastly more efficient manner than the "average of comparable consumer inkjet printers."