Remains of the Day: Patent-troll hunter

I don’t know if patent-troll hunting is a job, but if it is, well, let’s just say I may consider a change in careers. Emboldened by a previous victory, one of these pesky firms is suing Apple a second time; elsewhere, the new MacBook Air falls to pieces, Apple sets its sights on box eradication, and Samsung backtracks on a poor decision. The remainders for Thursday, July 21, 2011 are locked and loaded.

Troll sues Apple again: same patent, new devices (Ars Technica)

If the reward for a job well done is another job, then the reward for a patent case successfully sued is…another patent case. Having already won an $8 million judgment over Apple, Personal Audio LLC is back at it, suing Apple a second time. Whereas the first case covered playlists on the iPod, the new one covers the same process on the iPhone 4, iPad 2, fourth-generation iPod touch, fourth-generation iPod shuffle, and sixth-generation iPod nano. And once again we rue the day we ever let these guys come out from under bridges.

MacBook Air 13” Mid 2011 Teardown (iFixit)

If there’s new Apple hardware, it’s only a matter of microseconds until iFixit breaks it down into its components. In a surprise discovery, however, the team took apart the 13-inch model and discovered that, true to its name, it contains only air. When reached for comment, an Apple spokesperson mumbled something about the magic of iCloud and then pretended to disappear in a puff of smoke.

Apple initiates mass discontinuation of boxed retail software (AppleInsider)

It’s a brave new world of software distribution, and in that world there is no room for boxes. Reports indicate that Apple is excising its own software from the shelves of resellers. But don’t worry, little Suzy, those poor ancient boxes and their DVDs are just going to a special farm out in the country where they will live out the rest of their days hopping through fields of bits.

Samsung Electronics did not certify Anymode’s ‘Smart Case (Samsung Tomorrow)

Remember that knockoff Smart Cover designed for Samsung’s tablet? Turns out it was all a big misunderstanding, and Samsung says it pulled the accessory before it could be sold. In the company’s defense, it totally forgot that it doesn’t actually make the iPad.

Product News:

QuoteFix for Mail 2.2.0 - Robert Klep's Mail plug-in, which attempts to streamline in-message quotations, has been revved to version 2.2.0 for compatibility with Lion. Free.

FDX Reader 1.1.0 - Version 1.1.0 of the iOS app for reading Final Draft screenplays brings support for the iPhone in addition to the iPad. $5.

Slate.com 2.0 - Slate has updated its iPhone app to version 2.0, with a redesigned layout, a full-screen reading mode, access to slideshows, the ability to listen to podcasts in the background, daily videos, the ability to save articles offline, and sharing through Instapaper, Twitter, and Facebook. Free.

DEVONagent Pro 3.0 - Version 3.0 of DEVONtechnologies's Internet research assistant adds Lion compatibility and 64-bit support; support for searching SEC, JSTOR, and Lexis Web via plug-ins; authentication support for plug-ins; improved Thumbnail Gallery and Multimedia scanners; improved internal search; an overhauled interface; and more. $50; upgrade from 1.x is $40; upgrade from 2.x is $25; those who purchased after January 1, 2009 can upgrade for free.

Gmail Calling - An update to Gmail's calling features means that you can now put one call on hold when you receive another, or put a call on hold and make a second call.

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