This Week In Techdirt History: Augusts 12th – 18th

from the so-that's-what-happened dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2013, the White House incredibly put James Clapper in charge of independent NSA review, then tried to change its tune a bit when people rightly pointed out that this was insane. Meanwhile, Rep. Justin Amash discovered that the House Intelligence Committee had withheld important NSA documents from the rest of Congress, and that the White House knew it. Then, the latest leak revealed that the NSA abused the rules to spy on Americans thousands of times every year — since there was no real oversight, the FISC court just relied on the NSA’s own statements to determine what was legal, and agents were told to withhold information from those in charge of oversight. Senators Wyden and Udall hinted that this was just the tip of the iceberg, while NSA defenders claimed the abuses were evidence of the system working well and that the numbers were impressive compared to the amount of spying the NSA does.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2008, Italy tried and failed to block all access to The Pirate Bay, with the predictable result of a spike in Italian traffic to the site. Universities were realizing that the RIAA was taking advantage of them in its crusade against file-sharing students, while one teenager targeted in a lawsuit managed to get damages reduced with an “innocent infringement” defense. Nintendo was freaking out about memory cards for the Nintendo DS, while Tiffany was continuing its futile efforts to hold eBay accountable for counterfeit products by appealing a court ruling that said they weren’t (and this same week, a Belgian court was ruling the same thing).

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2003, eBay was only just starting to become the ecommerce platform of choice with folks setting up entire businesses on the site. ISPs were the ones fighting back against the RIAA, along with one accused file-sharer who was hitting the agency with a countersuit arguing that sharing does not equal distribution. There were early rumblings of “personalization” as the future of search engines, and the fairly new technology of MMS picture messages was being put to use for networked security cameras and medical emergencies. And nearly seven years before the iPad, there were lots of tablet computers hitting the market, but nobody wanted them.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: Augusts 12th – 18th”

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Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Tablet Computers -- You Were Wrong About Why

You wrote:

The "tablet" part – basically, making the screen a touchscreen – is just a feature of a laptop. It’s not an entirely separate category of computers.

Well, there are now laptops that offer just such a feature. And guess what: they’re still not selling well. Because it turns out putting a touchscreen on a laptop is a poor idea. Touchscreens work best on horizontal or near-horizontal screens; having to raise your arm to keep tapping a laptop/desktop screen leads to fatigue, a.k.a. “gorilla arm”.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Tablet Computers -- You Were Wrong About Why

I have been wishing for a touchscreen laptop for many years. There are times when raising my arm and putting a finger on what I want would be more efficient than track-balling (my preference over a mouse or touchpad) or keyboarding a particular command or selection. What I cannot understand is why it is not just prevalent, but standard.

No one I know has said it should be the only way to make a selection, but one that is also available at the same time as the others. Oh…yes, there are the computer designers who don’t talk to regular users, they just listen to the focus groups put together by the marketing team, who have an agenda. It isn’t the users agenda, but the companies agenda.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I have been wishing for a touchscreen laptop for many years.

That does not answer the question as to why not keyboard/mouse or trackball or touchpad/and touchscreen is not standard.

Sure, there is some expense, but expense becomes fairly negligible over time. Why are they trying to control the market? Well, that is a stupid question, they control the market for their benefit, not ours. When is the market going to listen to us. Putting touchscreen, along with other input methods, on every laptop doesn’t actually hurt them, but it does hurt us.

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I have been wishing for a touchscreen laptop for many years.

I’ll bite on the causation, speculating:
When I woke up and started looking at “PC”s a few years ago, the market had transformed…you now need to decide what size screen you want, followed by how you wanted to deal with the keyboard.

The engineering effort has been focusing on the filling in of all those different form factors, especially the large phones, and touch-only is assumed.

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