Stories by Scott Bradner

The personal computer tifosi

A few weeks ago I wrote about the potential impact of the verdict in the Apple v. Samsung patent case. The reaction from many readers who took the time to comment was, let's say, not supportive of the position I took in the column. You should take the time to read the comments -- they are enlightening -- but more about a very long-running split in the technical community than about the actual content of the column.

When does free mean none?

The International Telecommunications Union is scheduled to meet in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for two weeks in early December to revise the international treaties that define the ITU's role in the world. Many organizations have submitted proposals for changes to the existing treaties, which were last revised in the mostly pre-Internet era of 1988. One particular proposal, if adopted, has the potential of redefining the term "free" on the Internet to mean "none."

Apple vs. Samsung: innovation vs. clones

There has been a lot of speculation as to how a jury could have come up with such a one-sided verdict in as complicated and long a case as Apple vs. Samsung. I doubt anyone directly involved in the case would have predicted an outcome that looked remotely like this. But, I will leave speculation on that to others; instead I'd like to look at whether the verdict is good for us, and I think it is.

Opinion: Rewriting Internet history

Rewriting history for political purposes used to be a favorite pastime in the old Soviet Union. In a neat turn of events we now see the Wall Street Journal doing the same thing.

Apple: Great new products, but secrecy as a religion

Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with a few friends, Monday performed the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. The show must go on, even without Steve Jobs, and it sure did go on -- two well-packed hours of Apple mantra and mania. They did not talk about what I was watching for, but it turned out OK anyway.

SMS a killer app at 20; irrelevant at 25?

The first SMS-capable mobile phones were approved for sale in Europe 20 years ago this month. By any measure, SMS has become a huge success, at least for the telephone companies, with more than 6 trillion SMS messages sent worldwide in 2010, generating more than $110 billion in revenue. But the future may not be anywhere near as bright because of increasing use of "free" Internet-based services such as Facebook, Apple's iMessage and

NBC, the Olympics and the Internet

I have been far from nice when it comes to my opinion of NBC's understanding of the power of the Internet when it comes to Olympic coverage. Six years ago I had the Pollyannaish view that NBC would stumble on the Internet when it next broadcast the Olympics. ("The last pre-Internet Olympics?") I was wrong and complained again the next time the Olympics came around ("NBC Olympic coverage: Is the Internet the enemy?").

Analysis: Is Apple destroying the Internet?

When The Guardian recently interviewed Google co-founder Sergey Brin as a teaser for its weeklong series of articles about the Battle for the Internet, the publication got a good headline out of it: "Google's Brin: threats to Web freedom 'greater then ever'"

Are Facebook passwords fair game for employers?

The Associated Press in late March reported on the issue of employers asking job applicants for their Facebook passwords, citing new and old incidents. The story apparently hit a sore point because it was all over the press within a day or so and in short order politicians were posturing and reaching for the limelight by introducing legislation to ban the practice and sending letters to enforcement agencies demanding action. Based on the comments since the story broke, it is clear that the specific practice of demanding an applicant's password to a social media site is not common but that there is a common worry that it might become so.

Abusive websites and customer retention

 Why is it that companies that should know better embark on programs of customer abuse when they should stop and think like a customer, at least for a few seconds? This is a small tale of a company getting it right, then making three all-too-common mistakes. These are not the only ways a company can abuse its customers, but is an example of the kind of non-thinking that should be avoided.

Apple's "new iPad": Too late to be corporate game changer

It's been a hard few years for we-control-everything corporate IT departments as well as for the "Microsoft is the answer, what was your question?" approach to corporate computing. It has also been a while since corporate IT departments have had to deal with a new reality that completely changed how they interact with their users.

Apple's Gatekeeper: A low cost for partial security

Out of the blue, <a href="">Apple</a> just announced <a href="">Mountain Lion</a>, the next generation of its OS X operating system. By the time Mountain Lion ships sometime next summer, Apple says it will have lots of <a href="">new features</a>, some transported from its iOS environment of the <a href="">iPhone</a>, <a href="">iPad</a> and iPod Touch world. This column will examine just one of the new features, one that, while good, has not yet included all the functions of its iOS prototype.

Science, technology and politicians

What is it about politicians that makes them believe that they, with a few minutes' cursory review, know better than people who have studied in an area for decades? Whatever the case, it far from a rare condition. The most recent example of this attitude is the copyright protection proposals currently in front of Congress.

Is vulnerability an objective?

I ended last year with a <a href="">death-of-the-Internet column</a>, and I'm starting off the new year with a death-via-the-Internet one.