Skype, Amazon and BitTorrent news For a Snowy Week

Still snowed in? That’s what I thought. Regardless of whether you got back from back-straining snow removal or you live in Orlando, you’ll appreciate some of the latest tech news of the day.

  • Popular Mechanics starts off the list with a list of tech concepts you need to know for 2011. Subjects from flywheel energy storage (rumored to be used by Terremark) to optogenetics (the ability to control the brain with designer viruses and fiber optics), there are lots of interesting concepts to wrap your brain around before you start imbibing large quantities of champagne this weekend.
  • Then there is the story of the man who faces five years in jail for reading his wife’s email – seems the Michigan identity fraud laws are extremely tough and potentially vague.
  • Something that is not vague is the growth at Amazon – in fact we should all wish we owned stock. On Cyber Monday the online retailer sold 158 items per second for a total of 13.7 million! Certainly this snow storm seems to be a reason for sales to grow even more quickly.
  • And guess what the hottest seller is at this company? The Kindle 3. To think I once predicted no one wants this thing.
  • On the lighter side – the list of most popular BitTorrent searches for the year is out and porn and movies are all over the top spots. This is how it starts – inception, iron man 2, 2010, xxx, French, avatar, dvdrip, despicable me, porn, clash of the titans, toy story 3, glee, salt, twighlight eclipse, dexter and the sorcerer’s apprentice.
  • But back to communications – Skype has been in the news a lot lately – first because of a massive outage which Dan York explains well. You may recall, York’s company relies on Skype heavily – I discussed this recently in a related post. Now the P2P VoIP company is dealing with a patent dispute which claims the Internet Telephony provider infringes on a patent relating to reporting and responding to network node level events. As you can imagine, in a peer-to-peer (p2p) communications system, listening to nodes on the network is quite an important function.
  • The patent was filed in July 1, 2004 and granted in February 23rd of this year and shows us just how broken the patent office is – the prior art on this patent should be a few miles long and the fact that this thing was even granted shows how insane the USPTO can be – it seems like it will approve just about anything no matter how trivial. The working of the patent look suspiciously similar but not exactly like the workings of a Token Ring or Ethernet network in fact.

And that’s the news. I may get an entry or two more in before I brave the freezing New England temps and head home on the ice-filled I-95 many of us know and love.

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