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IBM Patents Technology

IBM Patents Tweeting Remote Control 282

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the just-put-a-clock-in-something dept.
Fluffeh writes "IBM has applied for a patent on a network-enabled smart remote control that sends out a message to Twitter, Facebook or a blog when you start watching a TV show." Hopefully this launches an exciting patent landgrab of devices that are socially enabled. Your car can tweet when you leave your garage. Your dishwasher can tweet when the load is done. Your skillet can tweet when your eggs are burnt. And they say innovation is dead.
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IBM Patents Tweeting Remote Control

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  • Wow. (Score:5, Funny)

    by moogied (1175879) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:19AM (#29273871)
    There goes using a remote control to watch porn. The naked walk to my TV to change the channel is gonna get annoying real fast :(
    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:24AM (#29273931)
      Not so fast...
      You may avoid the twitter enabled remote but your wife also installed a motion-detector webcam that will post to twitter with a link to youtube.
    • by statusbar (314703)

      But the reality is that no one will care to read your tweets unless you are a politician or a star.

      --jeffk++

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        This whole Twitter phenomenon seems to reinforce the narcissistic personality common in today's 25 or younger crowd. They think 'Everyone will want to know I watched Top Model tonight, and 90210 and Gossip Girl last night.'

        • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Funny)

          by russotto (537200) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:44AM (#29274207) Journal

          This whole Twitter phenomenon seems to reinforce the narcissistic personality common in today's 25 or younger crowd. They think 'Everyone will want to know I watched Top Model tonight, and 90210 and Gossip Girl last night.'

          I patent using twitter to obtain viewer information for TV ratings. (Claim 2 is "The system of claim 1 where the viewer demographic is persons 25 or younger")

        • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:48AM (#29274241) Homepage Journal
          Am I the only one left in the US that doesn't want everyone to know my every move of every day life??

          Frankly, I prefer being anonymous for most of the time, until "I" choose to make myself known to my friends. I call it 'getting together with them for drinks....'

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Duradin (1261418)

            I can neither confirm nor deny that you are the only one in the US that doesn't want everyone to know their every move of everyday life.

          • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by eln (21727) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @12:01PM (#29274455) Homepage
            It's not necessarily that I do or don't want anyone to know what I'm doing, it's that I have this overwhelming feeling that nobody gives a shit. I've tried twitter, and I will "tweet" maybe once or twice a month, but even at that pace I pretty much assume that no one cares about what I decide to tweet about and I'm essentially just wasting time shouting into the ether. So, I mostly stick to the occasional humorous (to me, anyway) comment, and don't bother with the day to day details of my life.

            It seems to me that people who regularly tweet about every little thing have some sort of deep-seated need for constant validation from the outside world. They post personal details in order to evoke some kind of response just to show that someone, somewhere is paying attention to them. I find that sort of mentality kind of sad, but apparently it's a lot more common than I would have thought.
          • Ok to get together with your friends...as long as you tweet about it.

            Seriously, this whole auto-tweeting thing has a lot of useful applications; a real-time life logger. Now we need to make triggers based on the tweets that start other activities. Tweet my dog when I get into my car at the end of the work day. Actually, that dog knows when I'm coming home, so that's a waste. Some sort of weird, semi-obsessive dog radar.

            How about tweeting when my mother-in-law pulls into my street? I can turn out the l
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by nigelo (30096)

              How about tweeting when my mother-in-law pulls into my street?

              You'll know it's her when the mice start throwing themselves on the traps... (Les Dawson)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by quadrox (1174915)

            Using twitter to communicate friends who live the same place as you do is somewhat redundant and stupid, yes.

            But I use it and related services to stay in touch with several friends who do not live close by and who do not know every detail of my life anyway. This enables me to stay close to these people even if we only see each other a couple of times a year. I find it very useful. But then again, I don't (usually) post silly stuff like when I'm eating or watching TV or stuff. But if I'm going out with some

          • Am I the only one left in the US that doesn't want everyone to know my every move of every day life??

            No, you're not. I've yet to join twitter, facebook, myspace, flickr, etc. I enjoy searching for myself on the internet and finding next to nothing.

            It's kind of weird since I am a webservices developer (emphasis on services). I enjoy reading about what things people are doing with these social networks and what the latest trends are, but spending my time on them seems too much like work I guess.

            Besides, Google already provides a way for people who want to keep their privacy online [theonion.com].

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by roggg (1184871)

            I call it 'getting together with them for drinks....'

            Interesting. Is that patented?

        • by slim (1652)

          They think 'Everyone will want to know I watched Top Model tonight, and 90210 and Gossip Girl last night.'

          If this hypothetical twitterer has an appreciable number of followers, it would appear they're right. I mean, not "everybody" is interested, but if a handful are, then where's the harm?

          I just don't understand the hostility.

          I follow quite a few people on Twitter. If they bombarded me with drivel, I'd unfollow them.

        • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

          by SoupGuru (723634) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @12:14PM (#29274665)
          "Only around 15% of all the Twitter users are less than 25 years old.

          20% for people over 55 years and 16% for those under 25. Yeap, you read it right, 20% of Twitter users are over 55 years."

          http://crenk.com/twitter-is-for-old-people/

          Kind of scary, isn't it?
        • by rtaylor (70602)

          In IT all the 25 through 40 years olds stand around the water cooler discussing what they watched the previous night (sports, sitcom, whatever...). Smoke breaks, coffee breaks, lunch, before/after work; all seemed to revolve around this at the small office in Toronto where I worked.

          I didn't understand it when it was manually done and I fail to understand it when it is automatically done; but at least the ones using tweets will be have something else to talk about because TV watching habits will already be k

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Kemeno (984780)
          While I don't deny that there are a *lot* of people who are probably doing exactly this, I think this has become a bit of a stereotype for the average twitter user. I have quite a few friends who will tweet when they find a new/interesting app or article online, or if they're looking for suggestions for a place to eat/an application/whatever else pops into their head. I don't care who watched what on TV last night either, but if one of my friends finds a cool iPod/iPhone app or some interesting bit of news
    • Tangentially related, but pretty funny: http://xkcd.com/596/ [xkcd.com]
  • Yes! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:20AM (#29273877) Journal

    Now when I go to a friend's Twitter, I can know when his toilet has finished filling up after a flush.

    I LOVE THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY!!!!!!111!!!!

  • Ugh, can someone say prior art? [freshmeat.net]
    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:28AM (#29273991)
      I really wish people would stop saying the equivilent of 'oooh oooh prior art' without ever reading the actual patent.

      The primary reason why AutoProfile is not prior art is because the IBM patent specifically refers to a:

      remote controller, suitable for use while viewing media programming and content

      and:

      The enhanced remote controller allows the viewer to both communicate with a blogging server, and thus to a blogging service, as well as to display responses to and from other bloggers with whom the viewer is communicating. These blog communications may be accomplished without the viewer having to leave the broadcast receiver of the television.

      which AutoProfile is not and has no functionality for.

      Read the patent before jumping to conclusions.
      • by iamhigh (1252742)

        allows a viewer to autoblog about currently experienced media programming in real-time without having to resort to direct interaction with a computer to perform the autoblogging

        It's a device run on electricity, controlled by a logic board/proc, uses a display device and keyboard/buttons for input/output, that sends and receives data via http, and can send IR signals to a compatible device.

        How is this not interacting with a computer? And it doesn't sound all that novel now, does it?

        • by Desler (1608317)

          How is this not interacting with a computer? And it doesn't sound all that novel now, does it?

          According to this logic no invention in the history of computing has ever been novel because it can all just be broken down to "interacting with a computer".

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by duguk (589689)

            According to this logic no invention in the history of computing has ever been novel because it can all just be broken down to "interacting with a computer".

            To me that seems more fair than the current Patent system.

        • allows a viewer to autoblog about currently experienced media programming in real-time without having to resort to direct interaction with a computer to perform the autoblogging

          It's a device run on electricity, controlled by a logic board/proc, uses a display device and keyboard/buttons for input/output, that sends and receives data via http, and can send IR signals to a compatible device. How is this not interacting with a computer? And it doesn't sound all that novel now, does it?

          "Portable fusion device to power your flying car? It's just a power plant, and a car, and a plane. That doesn't sound at all novel now, does it?"

          (hint: you're wrong)

          • by iamhigh (1252742)
            Except we don't have fusion power, certainly not portable... and we don't already have flying cars buzzing around. Your post is a good example of a straw man argument. You have heard of that before, right?
      • by Ardaen (1099611) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @12:17PM (#29274723)
        I really wish people would stop saying the equivalent of 'oooh oooh read the patent' without ever considering how unoriginal these minor variations being patented are.

        The primary reason why the patent shouldn't be granted is it's a minor variation on existing ideas that takes no real effort to dream up or create. A 10 minute brain storming session could come up with dozens of ideas of equivalent value. Also, a prototype of the device could probably be created in minutes using a computer or smartphone with an IR port. Or look at a custom pvr setup.

        This is hardly a patent protecting any real R&D. This is like patenting different configurations of three blocks of Lego. Oh yes, my patent is original! The top block is shifted one peg farther to the right! It's a completely new design!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mea37 (1201159)

          How easy it is to build a prototype really doesn't matter.

          What does matter is whether the approach is novel. A novel approach can be very easy to implement once you have the key insight, and reaching that insight (not constructing a prototype) is the work that earns patent protection.

          My problem with this patent is this: I don't think you can state a problem to which this is a novel soltuion. The reason this hasn't been done isn't that nobody could figure out how - it's that nobody cared. If somebody had

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by blitzkrieg3 (995849)

        The primary reason why AutoProfile is not prior art is because the IBM patent specifically refers to a: remote controller, suitable for use while viewing media programming and content

        I primarily use my computer to "view media programming and content." The remote controller in this context is usually called a computer mouse.

        and:

        The enhanced remote controller allows the viewer to both communicate with a blogging server, and thus to a blogging service, as well as to display responses to and from other bloggers with whom the viewer is communicating. These blog communications may be accomplished without the viewer having to leave the broadcast receiver of the television.

        which AutoProfile is not and has no functionality for.

        Sorry, wrong plugin [google.com].

        If it's the fact the remote can post twitter updates, how is it any different than a nokia tablet with mythetomer [netti.nic.fi]? Or a phone [twitter.com] that can also be used as a remote control [valeriovalerio.org]? I use bluetooth to change the channels on my MythTv for example, and could you really say your tivo isn't technically a computer?

        I'm aware that Nokia and Motorola didn't

    • But it's done via Twitter not "by Internet" (TM) or "by hand" (eew, eew, eew) /Sarcasm

  • by slim (1652) <john&hartnup,net> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:21AM (#29273885) Homepage

    Hopefully this launches an exciting patent landgrab of devices that are socially enabled.

    ... or suppresses any such innovation, since there's a prior patent.

  • I've got to patent the tweeting toilet
  • For all those entrepreneurs who were innovative enough to come up with the original idea of doing [something] on the internet, this represents the next revolution to come out of their R&D parks.

    And they say that fundamental research is dead.

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:23AM (#29273915) Journal

    My Mouse Tweets anytime I click on anything, if its inside the web browser it tweets the URL I'm at, if its inside a game it tweets my headshots, and if I'm working it tweets how much I'm NOT on /.

    • My mouse is similar, but every time I move it, it tweets the current (x, y) screen position, the current application, and twitpics with a screen shot and a webcam image. My keyboard works in much the same way for keypresses.

      I've produced 743 tweets while writing this message. Oh wait, I just scrolled a bit - 1142 tweets.

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:23AM (#29273919)

    My sidearm can tweet when it's unloaded! The possibilities are endless!

  • by mcgrew (92797) *

    Twitter, I mean. I don't understand why it's so popular, am I just getting old?

    What's its draw?

    • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:28AM (#29273979)

      There's a lot of twits out there, and they needed their own messaging protocol.

      As far as I see it, it doesn't break my leg or steal my car. They can have at it. Just like they had at Second Life and whatever the revolution-of-the-future was before that.

    • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@spad . c o . uk> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:28AM (#29273987) Homepage

      Twitter is just an extension of MyFace & SpaceBook in that it allows you to create an even greater illusion that the mundane and tedious facets of your everyday life are something that thousands, nay millions of people are desperate to read about. So desperate, in fact, that they can't even wait for a daily rundown and must instead know about them within seconds of them occuring.

      Now, not only can you pretend that you've got more friends than some random people on the internet, but also that said friends care in the slightest about what you do.

    • Instantaneous updates about whatever you want whenever you want -

      Even if you don't Tweet yourself, you can follow your favourite Bands, Companies like NASA, conferences like TED, etc etc... To recieve the latest and greatest updates as fast as possible without having to look it up on a site like Slashdot, or potentially missing it if it passes the front page.

      Also, if you're of the socially active teenager age, its easy for parents and friends alike to know whats going on when. One of your friends comes down

      • by RingDev (879105)

        You have managed to tweak my interest in Twitter.

        I am suddenly compelled to tweet about someone else's life. Since my life is infact boring.

        I think I'll go tweet about using hypnosis to escape from a hungry tiger. That would be exciting!

        -Rick

      • by Minwee (522556)

        Essentially what you're asking is "Why are quick updates so popular? Back in my day we had to WAIT for the MAIL" and I hope that after reading my comment you realize how ridiculous it is to bash Twitter so much.

        So basically all you have to do is believe that every other form of communication takes a Really Long Time to complete and then suddenly the advantages to doing everything Instantly(tm) with Twitter(tm) become obvious.

        Now if you'll excuse me it's almost time for the emailman to come by and make his

      • by L0rdJedi (65690)

        Also, if you're of the socially active teenager age, its easy for parents and friends alike to know whats going on when. One of your friends comes down with the flu, they tweet about it, you know they won't be at the party. Etc etc.

        If a friend comes down with the flu, I'd expect them to be staying in bed, not up using Twitter. Geez, it's not like they can't make a quick phone call to say "Hey, got the flu, can't make it tonight". Next thing you know people will be tweeting about catching on fire, expecting someone to read it and call the fire dept. Or they'll be tweeting about breaking an arm or leg instead of calling for help and getting to the hospital to get it fixed.

        Yes, I know that teenagers these days find it necessary to tex

      • by maharb (1534501)

        Text Messages, phone calls, facebook 'status', blogs, etc. Many things solve the problems you propose twitter is solving.

        It really is all about celebrities and marketing. Twitter has no real uses as the whole instant communication/posting thing has been solved for ages. Companies like NASA and conferences like TED don't need to instantly update over mobile devices. Someone from those organizations should have access to a real computer and they can create a real post to a website/blog.

        The real question is

    • by tomhath (637240)
      Technology reporters need to report on something, Twitter will get coverage until the Next Big Thing comes along, then it will fade away.
    • by earlymon (1116185)

      I don't understand why it's so popular, am I just getting old?

      As obnoxiousness and laziness increases in popularity, so too does its codec, Twitter.

    • by slim (1652)

      You get a '+1 Insightful' for not 'getting' something nowadays?

      The appeal is that you can very conveniently get updated whenever some person/organisation/thing has something to broadcast.

      Likewise if you're the person/organisation/thing it's very convenient to broadcast things. Yeah, there's the 140 char limit, but that can include links.

      So far, this doesn't really outdo RSS. The big plus is the ability to query the whole "twitterverse" using a centralised API.

  • Hooray for Patents (Score:3, Insightful)

    by donutello (88309) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:25AM (#29273941) Homepage

    This patent will prevent most remote-control manufacturers from ever producing a device that does this.

    I'm going to go out and patent all kinds of devices being "socially"-enabled. It's the only way to be sure.

    • by NevarMore (248971)

      Hardly. It ensures that since an engineer at IBM had the idea on the company dime, that IBM gets first crack at implementing that idea

      A patent does not automatically mean that IBM won't license the technology. A patent does not mean that IBM won't just say "we recorded this for posterity, do what you want with it". A patent does not mean that IBM will give two flaming shits about a cheap remote that Tweets.

  • In my opinion, this patent business is fast getting out of control. Now that's my opinion.

  • Tweeting mouse trap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:27AM (#29273963) Homepage Journal

    Couple of months ago I was in Agile training at work and our ad-hoc group was tasked with making a better mouse trap. We decided to create a mouse trap (on paper) that would report its status via Twitter. Whether the trap was sprung, caught a mouse, was out of bait, etc.

    Seems like it would be great to have a private network of twitter-enabled devices where only you or friends would be able to monitor their status. There's way too many privacy concerns with an open network like Twitter.

  • Your car can tweet when you leave your garage. Your dishwasher can tweet when the load is done. Your skillet can tweet when your eggs are burnt.

    We all know the actual means of monetizing of this... your vibrator will tweet when it turns on.

    Actually, I should rephrase that. The vibrator will tweet. It's never *your* vibrator, of course.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      Your car can tweet when you leave your garage

      I think we all know the actual means of monetizing this - nip round after he's announced he's left the building and help yourself to his TV.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:28AM (#29273989)

    welcome our new tweeting masters (i.e. twits)

  • I am tweetting
    I am tweetting
    I am tweetting
    I am tweetting
    I am tweetting
    I am tweetting
    I am tweetting
    ^C^C^C

    Mmmm maybe that is not such a good idea, forget it
  • Now you don't even have to write your own blog, you just do stuff and something online records it! Oh well, I guess it puts the "log" back in blog.
  • I'm watching: CBS
    2 minutes ago from IBM TwitteRemote

    I'm watching: ABC
    2 minutes ago from IBM TwitteRemote

    I'm watching: NBC
    2 minutes ago from IBM TwitteRemote

    I'm watching: ETWN
    2 minutes ago from IBM TwitteRemote

    I'm watching: Playboy Channel
    5 minutes ago from IBM TwitteRemote

    I'm watching: ETWN
    5 minutes ago from IBM TwitteRemote

    I'm watching: Playboy Channel
    5 minutes ago from IBM TwitteRemote

    I'm watching: CNN
    5minutes ago from IBM TwitteRemote

    I'm watching: ABC (Mountain Time affiliate)
    6 minutes ago from

  • Twitter-enabled refrigerator, so everyone knows you're cheating on your diet? How about a twitter-enabled condom, so everyone on your friends list knows when you get lucky? Twitter-enabled shoes, so you send a message with every step? Twitter-enabled toilet? After all, don't all your friends need to know every time you go take a dump?
  • Twitter's a girl thing. Guys won't put up with it anymore than they'd ask for directions. And we've got to have a knack or secret decoder ring, some blatant twitter thing ain't gonna cut it. "Your skillet can tweet when your eggs are burnt. And they say innovation is dead." Innovation is refusing to time boiling eggs with a clock but using the toaster settting to pop toast at just the right darkness that after the toast is butter and set out it's time to take the eggs out. It's deep dark secret guy stuff. L
    • by tekrat (242117)

      I believe your headline should have been "Chicks Tweet".
      Fixed that for you.

    • Twitter's probably a great way to hit on girls. Has anyone written a guide to social hacks for twitter? Formated into twitter the world's greatest collection of one liners guaranteed to get girls to talk to you? Grandpa had a bunch of books on how to win friends and influence people, maybe it's time to revive those, rebrand everything and feed it to the noobs? ...profit!
  • by Tom (822)

    That kind of leaves the question: What the f*&$ do you talk about when you meet your friends? I mean, they already know every detail of your live from Twitter, and then there's weather.com...

    • by glop (181086)

      Well, there is always a good Emacs vs. Vi conversation. That somehow always seems fresh, lively and important. Of course, you need the right kind of friends ;-)

  • Tweet...tweet...tweet...tweet...tweet...tweet...

    Would someone hurry up and give those baby birds some chewed up worm pieces? I'm trying to get some rest here.
  • I recall an annoying plugin for pidgen that advertises what music people are playing/listening to. Heck, there are far older examples of such things for irc, and over 5 years ago we had an annoying plugin for Bayonne that would announce incoming calls and other noteworthy events over im. Nice to see IBM has finally "caught up" ;).

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:50AM (#29274293) Homepage

    I think it would be sweet if my toilet seat could tweet, and announce each major feat every time that I excrete. If the flowing bowl's replete I don't want to be discrete; I would tweet to the elite "Look at how I can compete!"

    • by dpbsmith (263124)

      Aw, jeez, I meant "discreet," of course. "Preview" is just no substitute for "Edit," darn it.

  • I wouldn't mind if my car texted me when it left the garage, especially if I wasn't inside it! It would be nice if my dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer would text me when they finish. But why would I need or even want to announce things like that to the rest of the world? And why would the rest of the world even care?!

    As for the TV remote, I guess it would make an interesting replacement for Neilson's ratings. I guess it would be good for friends who really, really like to keep up with shows to talk ab

  • Prior Art (Score:3, Funny)

    by aethelwyrd (1410845) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:52AM (#29274339)
    This totally infringes on my patent for doing something stupid with twitter.
  • My MythTV makes my viewing habits network accessible. I may not publish it for general consumption, but that's a choice, not a patentable design decision.
  • It's bad enough when someone I know announces that they're taking a dump. Now, the TOILET can announce it!

  • Better to send me an SMS message directly (prior art). Twitter is for one to many broadcasts. How many people out there want to know when my eggs are burnt?
  • You guys do realize that Twitter accounts can be set to "Private", right? Only the people you let in can see what you post, if you want it to be that way.

    Lets say I create four private accounts; "Dad", "Mom", "Big Kid", "Little Kid". I allow all of them to see each other, but nobody else can see them. You now have an instant, anywhere-you-are, refrigerator family note system. For the record, it is also easy to send a direct message to somebody, like when Dad asks Mom to call the babysitter so they can hav
  • We need alternate implementations of the twitter API. And these social devices... that's a good thing.

    If your TV can tweet every program you watch, then it could instead tweet to your own server at 192.168.0.x - this is useful information. This is a simple protocol and its widespread adoption could be useful in home automation and monitoring.

  • These patent guys remind me of little children who see a toy in a magazine and get in a fight over who saw it first. They also remind me of the 'frist post' guys here on Slashdot. They aren't being innovative, they aren't producing anything, and they are a general pain in the rear. They should all be taken out to the toolshed and beaten.
  • by ZERO1ZERO (948669) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @02:49PM (#29276791)
    I would want it tweeting the location of my tv remote. I am always losing them.

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