May 2008

The TimesMachine

by Lee Gesmer on May 23, 2008

If you have a home delivery subscription to the New York Times (even only the Sunday Times), check out the TimesMachine — a collection of full-page image scans of the newspaper from 1851-1922. That’s every issue and every page and article, advertisements and all, viewable in their original format.

April 16, 1912

To read how this was done, click here.

“Using Amazon Web Services, Hadoop and our own code, we ingested 405,000 very large TIFF images, 3.3 million articles in SGML and 405,000 xml files mapping articles to rectangular regions in the TIFF’s. This data was converted to a more web-friendly 810,000 PNG images (thumbnails and full images) and 405,000 JavaScript files – all of it ready to be assembled into a TimesMachine. . . . “… Read the full article

The “Rambus litigation” in all its many permutations — Justice Department investigation, FTC proceedings and multiple civil cases — has been documented and commented upon widely. For a recap see Andy Updegrove’s article here. At the heart of the legal controversy is the allegation that during the 1990s Rambus, the owner of key DRAM patents or pending patents that solved the CPU-memory chip “bottleneck” problem, failed to disclose these patents to JEDEC, an important standards-setting organization (“SSO”) to which Rambus belonged. JEDEC, uninformed of the existence of these patents, incorporated the Rambus technology in its standards, which were then widely adopted in the memory chip market.

Because Rambus withheld disclosure of its patents, JEDEC did not have the opportunity to exercise either of the two options open to it when a member disclosed proprietary technology: either choose another technology or negotiate industry-wide favorable licensing terms as a condition of adoption of the standard (so-called “reasonable and non-discriminatory” license fees, or”RAND” royalties).… Read the full article

Here is an example of just how complex electronic discovery can become when the stakes are high, and the lawyers are prepared to negotiate an extremely detailed discovery protocol. This document is from the ConnectU v. Facebook litigation, in which ConnectU alleges that the founders of Facebook misappropriated ConnectU ideas and technology. The Order is signed by Magistrate Collings, who is known to be one of the most experienced and sophisticated judges in the Federal District of Massachusetts when it comes to issues of electronic discovery. I’m sure that even he was challenged by this document.

You may recall the brouhaha that arose last year when a Massachusetts state district court judge vacated a prior state court conviction in order to mitigate the impact that the conviction would have on the defendant under the federal sentencing guidelines in an upcoming sentencing in federal court. The defendant, Matthew West, was due to be sentenced in federal court by Judge Young later the same day. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the existence or non-existence of a prior conviction made a huge difference in how much time West would be required to serve under the guidelines. Hence the urgency (on the part of West) in getting the earlier conviction vacated so it wouldn’t be counted against him.

The whole bizarre story is described here. You may recall that after that story broke the judge was the subject of massive public criticism (think talk radio, Boston Herald). She ended up in the emergency room with chest pains, and upon recovering she changed her mind and reinstated the conviction.… Read the full article