Archive for 22nd February 2007

Paper with Built-in Magic Ink

So here’s a neat article (mirror). Apparently Xerox is creating a printer that doesn’t require ink!

The paper is coated with a coating of only a few microns. This overlay contains chemicals that are activated by a light bar in the printer or multifunction device that creates the image. … The end result is a reusable paper which feels very much like regular paper and is not at all like the older, waxy fax paper.

Initially, people would think such a technology would save millions of trees a year since paper could be literally recycled after it serves its use. I am not so sure on that since paper tends to get mangled after it leaves the printer and sits on someone’s desk for 5 minutes. Rather, I see uses in security. Sensitive data could be printed on this medium only to be wiped after it serves its purpose; whereas right now, you run the risk of paper-shredder garbage trolls. Although, I admit there are promising uses for printing agendas, memos, drafts, or other inherently temporary documents.

No ink of any kind is used in the process and the resulting printed pages do not smudge or smear when touched. The pages do degrade over time and currently can last between 16-24 hours before returning to their original blank form. … We do expect further research will be able to control how long the image lasts. You can also immediately erase the paper and use it again by applying a heat source or putting the paper right in the machine to be reprinted.

This is essentially paper that has built in magic ink.

In essence, what makes paper “secure” – in that it can’t be modified after-the-fact – is now gone. If this re-printable paper looks very similar to regular paper (which the article indicates is the goal), it can cause all sorts of problems. Nevertheless, this is a cool technology I look forward to seeing on the market.

One thing that scares me about this invention is that some types of crime become easier. Imagine signing a contract. Then someone erases all of the words on the pages you signed only to print on that paper with a traditional printer afterwards, perfectly replacing the entire contract and having your signature sitting on the dotted line. Paper enters the digital age.

This technology is about giving paper expiration dates where the content demands it, while e-paper is about making digital content more portable. This technology will compete in a whole different market than e-paper – a technology I continue to predict will become the Next Big Thing.

Microsoft Owes $1.5 Billion to MP3 Patent Holder

There’s a few big news items today (which I’m sure you’ve already read about on other sites), but the one I want to cover involves Microsoft losing a $1.5 BILLION patent lawsuit.

Alcatel-Lucent sued Microsoft over its use of the MP3 technology in Windows. Microsoft says it already paid a $16 million licensing fee to another company later bought by Alcatel-Lucent. Clearly, something went wrong. I have to wonder if this has any effect on other companies that use MP3 compression technologies (Apple). From what I gather, yes.

The company also noted that roughly half of the damages are for overseas sales of Windows, which could be affected by a separate patent case. That case, currently before the Supreme Court, deals with whether overseas sales of software products should be subject to U.S. patent law.

Should you feel sorry for Microsoft? Well, considering their net income ("profit") for 2006 was $12.6 billion — no. They can more than afford it.

Cisco VPN is the Devil!

I’m very sorry for the lack of an update yesterday. I was away from the computer. :)

Anyway, I spent a lot of time today trying to troubleshoot my computer at work. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. I could remote desktop anywhere just fine.
  2. I installed the Cisco VPN Client. I did not configure it.
  3. I couldn’t remote desktop anywhere!
  4. I uninstalled Cisco VPN Client.
  5. I couldn’t remote desktop anywhere!
  6. I hacked at the registry and removed any remnant of the application.
  7. I couldn’t remote desktop anywhere!
  8. Go to #6.

I never actually solved the problem. In short, don’t install that shit unless you absolutely need it.

I Googled for hours. It seems Cisco VPN Client has a tendency to break Remote Desktop, but nobody knows exactly why. And for your techies I’ll state this again: No, I never actually configured or used the client. I just installed it and it broke shit.

If you have suggestions, please let me know!