Technology

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

Judges need to keep learning too, and a major source of education for them is the Federal Judicial Center, an organization dedicated to judicial education.

In fact, the FJC site is pretty cool. For example, here is a page that provides the biography of every federal judge (all courts, from District Court to Supreme Court), since 1789. Here is the bio of Judge Andrew A. Caffrey (deceased), who made me sweat quite a bit during this 37 day trial back in the early 1980s.

In any event, the FJC publishes various learning materials for judges, and last year they published a short work titled, Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges, authored by Judge Barbara J. Rothstein and former U.S. Magistrate Ronald J. Hedges.

As I’ve noted in the past, electronically stored information (or ESI, as its known), presents enormous challenges to lawyers and judges, almost all of whom were educated long before the last decade’s explosion in ESI.… Read the full article

When I began to practice in the area of technology law area in the early 1980s one of the issues we often brought up with clients was the need to get clear ownership assignment of their technology. We wrote articles about this, spoke on the topic, and generally beat the subject to death in publications and seminars.

It’s surprising (but not too surprising) that seemingly sophisticated businessmen still don’t focus on this.

Two cases we recently settled are illustrative of this issue.

In the first case, a start-up company hired a part-time/consultant level programmer. He ultimately became an “employee,” but the company allegedly failed to fulfill some of the obligations in his employment agreement, and failed to treat him as an employee in all respects, raising an issue as to whether he truly became an “employee” for legal purposes. In any event, even under the best of circumstances, some of the programming he did occurred before he became an “employee.”… Read the full article