Readings and Novelties

Cloud Computing – The "Next Big Thing"?

by Lee Gesmer on September 4, 2008

Here is a link to the slides used by Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger (Chairman Emeritus of the IBM Academy of Technology) in his talk entitled Cloud Computing and the Coming IT Cambrian Explosion. This was presented at Xconomy’s Cloud Computing event in Cambridge in June.

While there is no audio, I think the slides communicate the message loud and clear. A favorite expression of mine is “important if true.” On these predictions, I will say “important if prescient.”

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Exploring Google Book Search

by Lee Gesmer on August 1, 2008

In November 2005 I wrote an article about Google Book Search and the legal efforts of copyright owners to stop Google from achieving its goal of digitizing the world’s books and making them searchable on Google. The lawsuit filed by the Author’s Guild described there has dragged on with little visible activity and no apparent end in sight, but in the meantime Google has been digitizing books like nobody’s business. Although Google won’t disclose how many books it has scanned (why is this a secret? certainly not because of the lawsuit – the answer would easily be discoverable), word on the street is that as of a year ago Google had scanned a million books. If true, and if they are going full steam, they may be approaching a million and a half by now. Probably more than both you and I could read in a lifetime.

Searching and browsing this collection is awkward, but interesting to a book lover.… Read the full article

You don’t have to love maps or be a geography buff to love Google Earth. It’s a blast to zoom in on places you know, or places you’re curious about. For me, the more obscure the place, the more fun. Try the Saharan Africa or the interior of Inda, for example. And, the more of the planet Google displays in hi-res, the better it gets.

So I was intrigued to come across an article listing sites that are partially blocked to public view – blurred out.

Here is a link to the article, on Not surprisingly the White House, the U.S. Capitol and various military sites, nuclear reactors and embassies around the world are on the list. Closer to home in Massachusetts (my home state) are an oil tank farm in Braintree, the LNG terminal in Boston, along with much of the Port of Boston and MIT’s Lincoln Labs.… Read the full article

"The American Jury System is Dying"

by Lee Gesmer on July 10, 2008

Lawyers from out of state often ask me about the judges that their cases are assigned to in federal district court. What are they like? What’s their philosophy? Are they pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant? (good luck on the last one …).

Most of these judges hold their cards close to their chests, but U.S. District Judge William Young is an exception. His keynote speech before at a Florida Bar event last June is on the Boston Bar Association website, and any lawyer practicing before Judge Young is well advised to read it, along with Judge Young’s 2004 decision on the federal sentencing guidelines. Judge Young’s judicial philosophy is clearly spelled out in these writings, and you’ll be far better prepared appear in his courtroom if you’ve read them.… Read the full article