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'Sending timing data over cell network - what could go wrong?'

Plus: 'What's the point in having a trial?'

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Quotw This was the week when Microsoft buffed and polished its ancient spam-handy Hotmail service into the new Outlook.com, just seven years after Google gave us Gmail.

Apparently the planets had not yet aligned in Redmond's favour, because according to the firm's Chris Jones:

We think the time is right to reimagine email.

Given the Chocolate Factory's headstart, it's going to be somewhat difficult to claw on up there, but Redmond has a plan. Outlook.com is going to be less cluttered but it'll use all available screen space efficiently. And it's going to be context-aware as well, giving just the relevant menu options.

In a dig that seems rather specific to Google, Microsoft says its ads are going to be different. It's even going to turn the corporate messages off completely when it figures out that an email thread is "person-to-person".

Jones said:

When you're emailing to another person, that's when it can get dicey. I might be telling someone that my mom has cancer and see ads for beauty salons.

The fledgling Outlook.com was no sooner out in the wild than Microsoft was crowing about its success. The one-time web king tweeted gleefully that just six hours after launch, a million people had signed up.

But it's the same old story with these tech firms, do they mean actual active users? It's a little unlikely, since many folks sign up to everything when it first comes out in case they might ever want it.

A new user told The Reg:

Whenever a new major email service comes out (such as Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail) I usually sign up to try it out. Also being a Microsoft service and being named Outlook.com it seems like an important address to have.

Adding that:

My coworker set up his accounts to forward to his primary Gmail account. He mainly just wanted them because they're his names on other sites and his first name is usually impossible to get on any site/service.

This was was also the week when the patent-grubbing cat-fight between Apple and Samsung finally hit its trial date in the US. Now standing before the judge, the tech firms nevertheless continued their petty squabbling in the hopes of convincing the jury that the other firm is just plain nasty and mean, while it is a shiny example of moral values that only takes money for its tech so that it can make more for all the lovely, lovely people.

It was quite the war of words on the first day of the arguments, after the jury was chosen, when Samsung once more tried to get some evidence of its pre-iPhone iPhone-like designs and Apple's derivative iPhone designs from Sony.

Samsung lawyer John Quinn pleaded:

In 36 years, I've never begged the court. I'm begging the court now. What's the point in having a trial?

Thereby inadvertently echoing the thoughts of millions of people worldwide who wish the pair of them would just get the f*** over it and cross-license.

Anyway, the South Korean firm didn't produced the evidence early enough in discovery in the first place, so Judge Lucy Koh once more smacked its lawyer down and told him to go back to his corner. The sulky electronics giant decided not to leave it at that, though, and promptly released the contentious evidence along with a statement to the media, which said:

The excluded evidence would have established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design. Fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence.

Apple was furious, its attorney Harold McElhinny spluttering:

This is an intentional attempt to pollute this jury. I have just never seen anything like this.

He got the reaction he was hoping for from the judge, who demanded:

I want to know who drafted the press release, who authorised it, who released it and I want a declaration from Mr Quinn [on] what his role was.

The following morning, the tech firms were at it again.

John Quinn filed indignant defence of the press release, claiming Samsung was only defending itself in the public eye and claiming that the information was public anyway, whining:

The media has been reporting in salacious detail Apple's allegations of Samsung's supposed 'copying', causing injury to Samsung's public reputation as a company.

But Apple hit back hard:

This press statement wrongly calls into question the very integrity of the court and the judicial process, and undermines Apple’s fundamental right to a fair trial by impartial jurors uninfluenced by extrajudicial statements. The court should not condone this behaviour; the Court can, and should, severely sanction it.

And said that the whole thing could only be resolved if the court just handed over a win. Not because Apple wants to win or anything or utterly destroy its hated rival or be the best at everything all the time, not because of any of that, just to punish Samsung, of course.

Naturally, that request incensed Samsung, which is now looking to not only have the request denied but also have their whole schpiel struck from the record.

It's filing said:

Apple seeks an unprecedented sanction of outright dismissal of Samsung‘s defenses to its design patent claims, in the guise of an alleged" recommendation" about Samsung‘s release of information that was already publicly available.

Apple‘s "recommendation" is frivolous at every level, and can only be viewed as another plea that it be relieved from its obligation to prove its claims to a jury.

Judge Koh has yet to decide which glass house will get in trouble for throwing stones.

And of course, this was the week when the Olympics kicked off in London, naturally resulting in a hideously public tech fail.

The road cycling races, of particular interest to the Brits cause that's one of the sports they're especially good at, saw tons of peoples lining the roads in specified ticketed places for a quick glimpse of a two-wheeled legend. And because nothing in modern life can be viewed directly and instead has to be experienced secondhand through screens even by the people who are actually there, everyone had their bloody mobile.

Up on Box Hill, which provided a wider vantage point, they were packed in at the first race, tweeting merrily. Unfortunately, that meant they were jamming the network so bad, the bikes' GPS systems couldn't report their position so no-one watching the telly had a clue what was going on in the race.

After that little debacle, an Olympic official told everyone, in a very polite and pleading manner that it was their fault the TV-watchers and the BBC had their day ruined and they had to stop their incessant tweeting:

Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say 'Don't, you can't do it', and we would certainly never prevent people. It's just, if it's not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy.

Folks using their data had jammed the same network the bikes were using and nobody from that network had scratched their heads and thought to themselves, "Gee. I guess if that's already a problem reception area and we shove loads of people up there and then load on lots of extra equipment, we should maybe boost the network."

Who could put it better than this sage gent on Twitter:

Sending timing data over cell network - what could go wrong? ®

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