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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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  • by slim (1652) < minus pi> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:21AM (#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.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:24AM (#29273929) Homepage Journal

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

    What's its draw?

  • Hooray for Patents (Score:3, Insightful)

    by donutello (88309) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:25AM (#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 Dr. Eggman (932300) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:27AM (#29273969)
    For once, I would welcome the squashing of these 'innovations'...

    I for one welcome our new "digital DDT" patent overlords!
  • by six11 (579) <<johnsogg> <at> <>> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:27AM (#29273975) Homepage

    I've got to patent the tweeting toilet

    Nah... prior art. Sort of. Obligatory Penny Arcade Twitter Comic [].

  • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:28AM (#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) <> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:28AM (#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.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:37AM (#29274103) 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.'

  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:48AM (#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:Yes! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:53AM (#29274351)

    Better than knowing it's filled up before a flush.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:01AM (#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.
  • by Ardaen (1099611) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:17AM (#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:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by quadrox (1174915) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:21AM (#29274783)

    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 other people, go to watch a movie, acquire a new gadget that is just too cool and stuff like that, I may post a short notice about it.

    Twitter messages are easy to ignore if you don't care about them, don't take up much of your time, yet allow you to stay updated with your friends when geography would make it difficult otherwise.

  • by Xiver (13712) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:23AM (#29274809)
    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 iamhigh (1252742) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:43AM (#29275101)
    Alright asshole... have you read the patent? It constantly mentions "not having to use a computer" to do this "autoblogging". However, you are using a computer. A small one, designed for a specific purpose, but still a regular old computer. By your thinking the netbook is patentable. The laptop was too (although perhaps when first thought of this might have been patentable). But with the amount of small computer devices (phones, pdas, even computer controlled led-screened remote controls, netbooks and much more) that already have an IR port and can do all of this with a computer... this invention of a small computer to reproduce things that can already be done does not constitute a novel idea. If you think so, that's fine. But I will conclude that you are the one using stupid logic. If you think adding the words "facebook" and "twitter" make it novel, more power to you and your lifetime of following the crowd.
  • by mea37 (1201159) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:44AM (#29275113)

    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 said "I want to do X", what aspect of the patented invention wouldn't have been an obvious part of the solution?

    This patent covers a solution looking for a problem. In a certain demographic, it may carry a certain "cool" factor that allows it to catch on. "Hey, cool, I hadn't thought to do what this invention does." But that's not what patents are for.

    Don't get me wrong - it's possible to have a "solution looking for a problem" that is novel and merits a patent. In those cases, when someone hears about the invention they would say "hey, cool; I hadn't thought of it, but I'd like to do that... however, I can't say I understand how you did it".

  • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:57AM (#29275275)
    If it's functioning somewhat properly and not making your life a complete hell, just leave it alone and forget about any attempts to improve it ^_^
  • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by steve.howard (988489) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:59AM (#29275299)
    Do what I do with discount cards: find the phone number of someone who has one of those, then punch it in when you shop (I know Safeway lets you do this). The added bonus is that it throws off tracking of whomever you got the number from as well.
  • by phatslaab (1046786) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:37PM (#29276639)
    Thank you so much for telling us your lifestyle habits. It's especially useful to know exactly when you leave your house and to be informed of your daily activities while you're out so that we know when you'll return. I also like receiving information about your purchasing habits as well as knowing the names of your dog, fish, and children. I'm especially fond of the little red-head. Perhaps I will visit the school she goes to so we can get to know each other better. Afterall, I know exactly when you usually pick her up.

    Your television in your living room is a 52" plasma?! Awesome! I'll be over shortly to take it as well as any other valuables you constantly blab about on your twitter account. You make it so much easier for me to do my job. Thank you ever so much!

    -Your Neighborhood Nice Guy
  • by anegg (1390659) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:45PM (#29278011)

    Yes, but they wait until Friday night to plan Friday night. My wife and I had some friends (younger) who did the whole "instant communications" last-minute planning thing using cell phones... we almost always had to tell them "sorry, can't make it, we already have plans." We figured out in advance what we were going to do Friday night and were already doing it. The instant communications enables last-minute "planning", but is that really a good thing overall for socialization? (That's a real question from me to whoever, by the way.)

    I've never even thought of using Twitter because I'm too busy doing things to be sending little infomercials about what I'm doing. Maybe its because I'm old... but maybe its because I'm old enough to not need the constant hand-holding that some folks seem to need, whether by cell phone or by Twitter.

    Are we evolving into a society requiring constant validation of our place in the society? Are we becoming that insecure? Or are we evolving into some kind of geographically-disperse human-herd animal now that we have the enabling technology?

Truth is free, but information costs.