Best Buy Should Be Dead, But It’s Thriving in the Age of Amazon

After knocking gently on the front door, they would step back and stand to the right, smiling, head down slightly, arms uncrossed, name tag visible on their blue, wrinkle-free Best Buy polo shirts. They would shake hands firmly, avoiding the dead fish or the lobster claw.

Once inside, they would offer to remove their shoes. They wouldn’t lean on the walls or place their Best Buy tablets on the furniture. If they noticed a cat, they would know better than to say they own a dog, and they definitely wouldn’t

Source: Businessweek – Bloomberg

Researchers Hacked Amazon’s Alexa to Spy On Users, Again

“On default, Alexa ends the sessions after each duration… we were able to build in a feature that kept the session going [so Alexa would continue listening]. We also wanted to make sure that the user is not prompted and that Alexa is still listening without re-prompts,” Erez Yalon, manager of Application Security Research at Checkmarx, told Threatpost.

Source: Researchers Hacked Amazon’s Alexa to Spy On Users, Again | Threatpost | The first stop for security news

How Amazon got a patent on white-background photography

The problem is not with the examiners, but with the law that governs that examination. That law makes it possible to get patents on ideas that any ordinary person would find old, well-known, and obvious.

via How Amazon got a patent on white-background photography | Ars Technica.

The result in Hear-Wear explains the result in the Studio Arrangement patent application. In both cases, the inventive idea, embodied in the independent claim, was shown to be old and well-known by a prior art reference. And in both cases, a seemingly trivial add-on feature in a dependent claim ended up being the feature that tipped the balance from obvious to nonobvious—a multi-pronged plug in one, and a distance ratio in the other. Because in both cases, that trivial feature was so ordinary that no one would have taken the time to describe it in a printed publication, but without such a publication, according to the Federal Circuit’s rules, obviousness cannot be proved.

This, in my view, is why the examiner did not even attempt to reject claim 3. A distance ratio may seem trivial, unimportant, or uninventive, but absent a written prior art reference, that distance ratio can sustain a whole patent claim. However obvious such an element may sound, it remains nonobvious according to the letter of the law, and that is all that is needed for the patent application to leave the examiner’s desk and move to allowance.

us8676045 – Photography lighting (Amazon) – Issued Patent

Photographing subjects against a white background, where that background is lit to, in effect, be overexposed and thus providing what is known as a high key image is a standard technique. see the following link for more info.. in fact looking at the pictorial description it looks remarkably similar..–photo-2949

via us8676045 – Photography lighting (Amazon) – Issued Patent – PRIOR ART REQUEST – Ask Patents.

Groupon loyalists are spending more time on the site, which could lift results

The company has been experimenting with creating the same kind of marketplace as Inc. and other e-commerce companies in hopes of getting its customers to shop on its website without relying solely on an email prompt.

via Groupon loyalists are spending more time on the site, which could lift results – John Pletz Technology Blog – Crain’s Chicago Business.

So they’re going to compete with  Good luck with that.

Netflix Open-Sources ‘Janitor Monkey’ AWS Cleanup Tool

Janitor Monkey detects AWS instances, EBS volumes, EBS volume snapshots, and auto-scaling groups. Each of these resource types has distinctive rules for marking unused resources. For example, an EBS volume is marked as a cleanup candidate if it has not been attached to any instance for 30 days. Janitor Monkey determines whether a resource should be a cleanup candidate by applying a set of rules on it. If any of the rules determines that the resource is a cleanup candidate, Janitor Monkey marks the resource and schedules a time to clean it up.

via Netflix Open-Sources ‘Janitor Monkey’ AWS Cleanup Tool.

Building Amazon cloud apps that span the world is now much easier

Despite being in “the cloud,” Amazon Web Services has always required developers to know what they’re doing. Customers still have to manage a lot of the infrastructure even though they’re not monitoring physical servers and storage. But that doesn’t mean everything has to be a hassle, so Amazon simplifying something as important as disaster recovery is a big step in the right direction.

via Building Amazon cloud apps that span the world is now much easier | Ars Technica.