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IBM Wants Patent For Lotus Notes-Free Meetings

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the taketh-away-with-the-other dept.

Patents 179

theodp writes "Over at IBM, the Lotus Notes team has 'invented' preventing the use of their own product during meetings. Self-described patent reformer Big Blue has asked the USPTO for a patent covering Suppressing De-Focusing Activities During Selective Scheduled Meetings by forcing meeting attendees to 'submit to the computing system suspension requirements.' What's next — a patent for Verizon for blocking cellphone usage during movies?"

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English, Motherfscker (3, Insightful)

serps (517783) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117359)

Do you speak it?

Re:English, Motherfscker (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117393)

No, and it seems, neither do you.

Re:English, Motherfscker (1, Offtopic)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118563)

And you sir, just epic failed in understanding his use of the word "fsck".

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117361)

This is the dumbest fucking slashdot posting I have ever read.

Re:What? (1)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119035)

No, you mean

"This is the dumbest fscking slashdot posting I have ever read."

Grrrrr (4, Funny)

Spazholio (314843) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117363)

"What's next - a patent for Verizon for blocking cellphone usage during movies?"

DON'T. GIVE THEM. IDEAS.

Re:Grrrrr (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117471)

Don't worry, Verizon would charge at least $5.99 a month for the "Vblock Premium Network Experience".

You might have to talk to a supervisor two or three times a billing cycle to keep it off your account; but they wouldn't actually provide a service, even a worse than useless one, without being overpaid for it.

Re:Grrrrr (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117549)

DON'T. GIVE THEM. IDEAS.

It's not them you need to worry about...

In other news, Microsoft has patented the process of buying products from companies that aren't Microsoft. So now, if you buy a Microsoft product you will pay them some money, and if you buy someone else's product you will still have to pay them some money because of their patent. Industry analysts say they haven't noticed any difference from the status quo.

Re:Grrrrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117937)

It's a bloody brilliant idea imnsho. I'd be happy to let them take it if they would only guarantee that it would actually be implemented in all cinemas.

Re:Grrrrr (2, Interesting)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118371)

Don't know about a patent, but a gps addon to phones that automagically puts them in vibrate mode when entering a theater would be cool...

Re:Grrrrr (1)

isnoop (239143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118493)

I used to use an app that did precisely this on my previous Windows smartphone. It didn't use GPS data but allowed locations to be defined based on tower codes and relative strengths.

The iPhone could have this as well if you could run background apps and access the network stack without jailbreaking.

Re:Grrrrr (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118561)

How exactly are you planning to receive GPS signals inside a building?

Re:Grrrrr (2, Funny)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119047)

Cat, meet A-GPS [wikipedia.org] . A-GPS, meet cat.

Re:Grrrrr (1)

Proofof. Chaos (1067060) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119125)

That explains why the last time I called 911 (I was in a building), they pressed me for an address. When I told them my phone had GPS, they said it was easier for them if I gave them the address myself.

Re:Grrrrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27119257)

aGPS?

Re:Grrrrr (3, Informative)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119345)

aGPS = Assisted GPS [wikipedia.org]

Basically uses cell site triangulation to assist where GPS signal is poor

Re:Grrrrr (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119159)

This is one of the original selling points for Bluetooth. Ericsson envisaged that theatres and libraries would have Bluetooth beacons that politely asked Bluetooth phones to go into silent mode. Great idea, never happened.

Re:Grrrrr (2, Funny)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119463)

I remember that... all they made was a highly vulnerable standard that creates frustrations galore for novice users.

Re:Grrrrr (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118861)

Why? Sounds like a great idea!

Re:Grrrrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118983)

Microsoft patents the use of non-Windows operating systems, and sues all competitors for infringement.

Re:Grrrrr (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119119)

Microsoft patents the use of non-Windows operating systems, and sues all competitors for infringement.

They already did. I apparently just can't find their press release were they mention the actual patents and infringements ;-)

Mean while (4, Funny)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117367)

3M Patents sticky notes for use when lotus notes has been restricted... :-P

IANAL, etc. (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117391)

But this seems pretty tepid. Software designed to enforce situation-specific social norms is not at all new(SMART's somewhat creepily named "Synchroneyes" is one that has been commercially available for a long while now, MS's "digital manners" application came out a while back, and I've run into a number of browser plugins and other utility programs designed to stop timewasting).

The only novelty, and it is a slender one, is using a calendar event as a stimulus, rather than time or location or some other variable.

Re:IANAL, etc. (2, Funny)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118391)

...I've run into a number of browser plugins and other utility programs designed to stop timewasting).

You can just stick slashdot.org in your hosts file and be done with it, no need for a plugin...

Re:IANAL, etc. (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118961)

Remember these patent filings can take 5-6 years. So you need to ask if it was novel back then.

But your point is taken. I recommend people interested stopping non-novel patents try this website.

http://www.peertopatent.org/ [peertopatent.org]

Re:IANAL, etc. (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119043)

Software designed to enforce situation-specific social norms ...

There we have it all: a fruitful synthesis of scientific and technical progress to foster evolution. Soon we will arrive at a state (more like 'finite-state') were we will have an even more progressive 'enabling' technology, perhaps along the lines of "Google-life(tm) beta".

Ick.

CC.

Sounds new to me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117413)

I don't know of any existing products with this functionality. So they wrote it up first, and you're bitching because you lack the creativity or ambition to do so yourself.

Oh, you don't like software patents? So competitive corporations should just throw in the towel and abandon patents that are allowed in our current system?

Re:Sounds new to me (5, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117505)

I don't know of any existing products with this functionality. So they wrote it up first, and you're bitching because you lack the creativity or ambition to do so yourself.

For prior art, check out any MMORPG with a parental control feature, or firewalls with time lock options. Maybe there's a sliver of innovation in that it custom schedules it based on when your meetings are, but that's pretty thin.

Oh, you don't like software patents? So competitive corporations should just throw in the towel and abandon patents that are allowed in our current system?

No, my plan is to bitch about them to draw attention to how broken the system is until we have the support to legislate them away. Until then I support companies' rights to keep trying for these things, and the people's rights to mock them for it.

Re:Sounds new to me (4, Funny)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117833)

The good posts always come when I don't have mod points. Slashdot would be a much better place, if the phrase "My mocking something does not necessarily mean that I support the government suppressing it," were half as popular as that damned Franklin quote about security and liberty.

Re:Sounds new to me (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118325)

Except he clearly said that he does support the government suppressing software patents. He supports companies acquiring inane software patents so they can compete under the current system, but only until it's possible to get rid of them all at once, instead of having a handful of companies be matyrs.

Re:Sounds new to me (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119281)

The good posts always come when I don't have mod points. Slashdot would be a much better place, if the phrase "My mocking something does not necessarily mean that I support the government suppressing it," were half as popular as that damned Franklin quote about security and liberty.

Those who give up modpoints for mocking patents, deserve both.

Re:Sounds new to me (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118999)

> For prior art, check out any MMORPG with a parental control feature, or firewalls with time lock options

They are not calendaring and scheduling systems though.

Re:Sounds new to me (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119075)

They are not calendaring and scheduling systems though.

Of course not. I don't think that adds enough novelty to deserve a patent, any more than adding "... on the internet" should make recycled business plans patentable.

Re:Sounds new to me (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118593)

I don't know of any existing products with this functionality.

You must have never tried /usr/games/adventure. Collosial caves were typically closed until 5 pm or so.

It's a brilliant tactical move, really (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117423)

If IBM patents meeting without Lotus Notes, and doesn't license it, then that means everyone will have to have meetings WITH Lotus Notes! Most companies don't have it, so now they'll need to license it.

yes... (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117485)

It's a great strategy for undermining the efficiency of companies everywhere!

Re:yes... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117587)

Other companies. You really aren't thinking like a capitalist!

Re:It's a brilliant tactical move, really (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119565)

It won't work. As I recall, you are required to file a patent in the US within a year of inventing, and preventing Lotus Notes use was something that the Notes user interface team perfected - and brought to market - far more than a year ago.

Re:It's a brilliant tactical move, really (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119601)

Or, they could always stop having Meetings! (I would prefer this choice!)

funny, that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117451)

...and here I thought that IBM's crappy marketing practices were primarily responsible for no one using Notes during meetings. Well, that or the fact that the client hasn't changed significantly since the dot com era.

Or you could tell people not to bring their laptop (5, Insightful)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117453)

The app seems like a verbose way of saying that the calendar system shuts down access to other apps during the meeting; which is a technical solution to a social problem (people banging away on laptop keyboards during meetings)

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (5, Insightful)

high_rolla (1068540) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117877)

Indeed. We seem to be evolving a culture where we try to solve every problem with technology. Sometimes technology is not the answer. Sometimes you have to realise that technology is not curing the problem, it is just solving a symptom. And like most diseases, it will simply evolve around your attempt.

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (4, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118187)

We seem to be evolving a culture where we try to solve every problem with technology. Sometimes technology is not the answer.

No. Clearly the problem is that people are invited to meetings when they feel there is more value in doing something else than actually paying attention at the meeting.

Probably the best solution is to have fewer meetings and make them shorter and more focused.

If you then still need the meeting and making it shorter and focused does not keep the attention of the people involved, maybe they need a different job where they won't be distracted by such meetings.

I work for a large corporation and I believe we have far too many meetings that are not really needed. When I'm bored in one of these meetings, I like to look around the table and try to estimate the cost in salary and benefits of the particular meeting. With a VP, a handful of directors and several managers, a one-hour meeting easily costs the company a few thousand dollars.

This kind of technology won't solve the problem of people doing other things in meetings and it will most likely just piss them off.

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (2, Insightful)

iocat (572367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118415)

The actual solution, assuming your not on a videoconference, is to just bring a magazine or book to work and read that when you're not supposed to be using your computer in the meeting. Or a PSP. They haven't invented a way yet to get disinterested people to be interested in stupid meetings. Even if you're face tp face, you can always just extensively take notes during meetings as a way to take your mind off having to actually pay attention. (If what I just wrote seems counter-intuitive, try it sometime -- extensive note taking both keeps you awake and creates a record of what happened, but it also enables you to totally turn off your brian and makes time pass quickly as you concentrate on things like your margins, handwriting, ink-pressure on the paper, etc.)

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27119065)

it also enables you to totally turn off your brian and makes time pass quickly

I hope you are a girl. Actually that doesn't make it good either.

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (1)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118707)

Probably the best solution is to have fewer meetings and make them shorter and more focused.

Which is kinda hard when half of your audience is busy being elsewhere with their thoughts.

You have to start somewhere. Speaking as someone who is leading meetings on a regular basis, I would gladly take any and all technological solutions to shut down all electronic devices in the room. After a few meetings without, I'm sure people would notice how much more focussed, efficient and thus shorter these meetings can be - but getting there is the problem. And no, convincing people doesn't work, we've tried that. People are too deluded about their own abilities ("oh, no problem, I can listen at the same time I'm typing on the computer. What was it you said?").

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119605)

Several studies have shown that the productivity of a meeting begins to drop off rapidly when you add more than three people. The only real reason for bigger meetings is to share blame. Fewer meetings is not the correct solution, smaller and shorter (but potentially more) meetings is. If a lot of people need to know what was discussed at the meeting then email out detailed minutes, don't require them to all be there in person.

If someone is not paying attention in a meeting, it means that they don't feel that the meeting demands 100% of their attention, and if that is the case then they are probably right. Rather than force them to sit in a meeting which only demands 50% of their attention on average, split it into two meetings, one where they do have to pay attention 100% of the time, and one where they don't have to attend.

If you read any management theory textbook written in the last 30 years, you'll see exactly this advice.

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118933)

We seem to be evolving a culture where we try to solve every problem with technology. Sometimes technology is not the answer.

No. Clearly the problem is that people are invited to meetings when they feel there is more value in doing something else than actually paying attention at the meeting.

Yes. Clearly, what you are describing is indeed a social problem, not a technical one.

What about taking minutes? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119349)

What about taking minutes of the meeting on a laptop? I did that for a while, and nobody complained.

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (2, Insightful)

Proofof. Chaos (1067060) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119325)

Amen. A lot of people also like to blame new tech for these kinds of problems.
Have we really become a society that believes that the only way to prevent anti-social or anti-productive behavior is to use tech and patents to make it impossible?
If a company doesn't like what people are doing during their meetings, they should consider why people aren't paying attention (maybe the meeting wasn't necessary) and if they determine that the employees really are out of line, punish them.
These days, we've adopted this concept that you can't punish people for incompetence or negligence, as long as society didn't do anything to prevent the person from doing what they did. Trust me, within a few years, you're going to see the first murderer use the defense that they are not at fault because society allowed them to purchase the weapon, or a child-molester who says "neither she, nor her parents did anything to prevent me from having sex with her, If this 10 yr old didn't want to have sex, she should have said so, or her parents shouldn't have sent her to summer camp.

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117951)

Of course I typically have a minimum of three computers on my desk, and none have Lotus Notes. If I must bang on my keyboard however I use mute. Being the tech means I often have to bang on a keyboard for a while to enable others to get into the meeting.

Re:Or you could tell people not to bring their lap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118255)

The app seems like a verbose way of saying that the calendar system shuts down access to other apps during the meeting; which is a technical solution to a social problem (people banging away on laptop keyboards during meetings)

I've done that with blackberries during meetings. If you have a blackberry enterprise server, the blackberry admin can remotely change the password and lock a blackberry.

Uninformed summary (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117457)

One part of IBM's strategy for patent reform has been to build as large a patent library as possible, but enforce only (what they see as) legitimate innovation while using the rest only to club patent trolls. While I have no objection to anti-software patent advocates, or full-blown anti-imaginary property advocates, insinuating that IBM is guilt of misrepresentation or hypocrisy with this filing is absurd.

What is IBM trying to do? (3, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117467)

IBM has been attempting to get patents for some of the craziest things lately, and I wonder how many of these were actually accepted. Are they trying an easy way to beef up their patent portfolio, for defensive tactics, to keep up the yearly count or simply to prove how broken the system is? In the meantime, they will ensure they keep getting noticed by Slashdot ;)

Re:What is IBM trying to do? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117681)

Are they trying an easy way to beef up their patent portfolio, for defensive tactics, to keep up the yearly count or simply to prove how broken the system is?

Think about it. Big Company. Decides to manage patent portfolio. Hires patent manager. Patent manager is assessed on statistics. Manager decides he will ensure his figures look good.

All hail bureaucracy!

Re:What is IBM trying to do? (2, Informative)

technomom (444378) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119503)

IBM has recently changed their internal patent awards so that patents are worth less now and publishes to ip.com are worth more, at least for individual inventors. I can't speak for the patent attorneys.

So, they are, to a certain extent, putting their money where their mouth is. IBM does leverage its patent portfolio but it doesn't tend to "patent troll". Instead, it tends to use its portfolio defensively against patent trolls like SCO.

Re:What is IBM trying to do? (4, Funny)

Ashriel (1457949) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117803)

I'm guessing that they're trying to reform patent law by coming up with such ridiculous patents that the patent office can no longer take itself seriously, if indeed it still does.

Either that, or they have some seriously messed-up people in charge over there - c'mon, patenting non-use of software? Am I the only person who laughed at this article? Never even mind the patent summary itself, which keeps referring to the act of not using Lotus Notes as an "invention".

I think I'm going to go out and patent not using my personal computer between the hours of 6 pm and 10 pm EST. That way everyone else has to pay me for not using my PC during that timeframe.

Patent stupidity? It's been done already! (3, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118761)

... such ridiculous patents that the patent office can no longer take itself seriously, if indeed it still does.

They're too late. Much too late:
766,171 "Apparatus for signalling from a grave" (before horror movies even existed)
1,749,090 "Apparatus for obtaining criminal confessions" (oooh, scary ghosts)
2,929,459 "Rocket-propelled pogo stick" (yay for Wile E Coyote!)
3,216,423 "Facilitating birth by centrifugal force" (I kid you not)
4,016,875 "Penis locking and lacerating vaginal insert" (the mind boggles)
4,429,685 "Surgical procedure for unicorns" (WTF?)
5,443,036 "Method for exercising a cat" (fun with a laser pointer)
5,456,625 "Jesus doll lights when crucified" (surreal BDSM toy, intended for kids!)
6,025,810 "Faster than light communication" (physics from another reality)
6,368,227 "Method of swinging on a swing" (eventually cancelled, alas)
This is just a sampling from my collection of US PTO brainfarts. Other wierd wonders have titles such as "Body condom", "Santa Claus detector", "Making a drink hop along a counter", "Thermochromic urinal mat", "Motorized ice-cream cone", "Electrified table cloth", and so forth. I've also collected turds from the French, German, Japanese, and UK patent offices, but they are less profligate than the US patent orifice.

Re:What is IBM trying to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27119553)

"they will ensure they keep getting noticed by Slashdot"

- Well, If their game is to advertise themselves on slashdot and other tech-sites, let me advertise what I think of them. I always hate IBM for making their crapola "Lotus Notes", and everytime I see "IBM" I think "Ah, the company that makes the shit-pile called Lotus Notes"

If any techie here on slashdot has the chance of deciding between using lotus notes and not using lotus notes, please don't use it, it's a steaming pile of turd.

This is a remarkable precedent (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117535)

It's great for creativity really. Imagine the proliferation of patents that are based on not doing something. I didn't eat at McDonald's today - can I patent that? Can I patent not using Windows?? This is fun. But as someone else noted above, IBM's true genius is the catch-22 ... if you choose to use Notes, you're paying for the privilege. IBM figured out a way to still make you pay when you choose not to use Notes.

We're in Trouble (2, Funny)

davidbofinger (703269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117563)

This is the tip of the iceberg. If IBM ever invents a method of stopping people reading slashdot then we're screwed.

They have a chronic and terminal disease (3, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117591)

called "cranio-rectal inversion".

Re:They have a chronic and terminal disease (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117777)

or is it cranio-rectal insertion?

Or Be More Interesting (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117601)

Want people's attention during your meeting? Try a few basic things:

Start on time.
Get to the point when speaking.
Keep the discussion on topic.
If the meeting is more than an hour, have a 5 minute break for email and bathroom.
Never read your slides to the audience.

Then again, I dislike speaking in front of people, even if I do it well, so I'm quick myself.

Re:Or Be More Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118343)

Want people's attention during your meeting? Try a few basic things:

Sorry, could you repeat that? I drifted off a bit.

Re:Or Be More Interesting (2, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118785)

Want people's attention during your meeting? Try a few basic things:

Start on time.
Get to the point when speaking.
Keep the discussion on topic.
If the meeting is more than an hour, have a 5 minute break for email and bathroom.
Never read your slides to the audience.

Then again, I dislike speaking in front of people, even if I do it well, so I'm quick myself.

And remove the chairs from the meeting room (unless you really need a multi-hour drone-a-thon). The meeting then gets to the point faster, and finishes without excessive blather and time wasting.

Re:Or Be More Interesting (1)

wift (164108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119619)

How about closing the laptop lids so you pay attention to the meeting.

The best way to deal with Lotus Notes... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117603)

...would be to send a robot killer back in time to take out Ray Ozzie's mother before he was born.

Lotus (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117797)

Notermitator?

Lotus Notes is a Worldwide CONSPIRACY (3, Interesting)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117605)

I have been riding a downhill slope of enterprise email systems for the last half decade.
First I started working at a Novell shop, Groupwise was of course the flavor. Well, I thought
it was lacking in usability and features, until we ditched it for a worldwide Lotus Notes
enterprise solution. What groupwise lacks in features and usability, Notes takes and twists
into infinitely complex knots, lashings, and tangles. Preferences? We got em all over the
fucking place. Location preferences, user preferences, security prefernces, address book
preferences, all dispersed throughout different menus and buttons. There is no way
a non admin could properly configure this evil bitch. Want to archive some email and get
it out of your active database (oh yes, this is not a mail file, this is a full fledged encrypted
domino database, bitches) ? Ok, follow this simple 10 step process! To change the font size, you
have to leave the application and edit a preference file by hand on Macs. We had to send out
a small magazine to explain how to use an html signature. The default browser when you
install? Notes browser. Ugh.

I have come up with a fairly plausible theory that Lotus Notes is a conspiracy
of complexity to keep huge numbers of IBM engineers and testers, as well as external
Notes administrators in business. Witness the ease of use of modern email.
We have well over 20 Notes admins for our global enterprise. REALLY?

Re:Lotus Notes is a Worldwide CONSPIRACY (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117815)

I have come up with a fairly plausible theory that Lotus Notes is a conspiracy of complexity to keep huge numbers of IBM engineers and testers, as well as external Notes administrators in business.

IBM specialise in this. Have a look at the entire Rational product line, particularly ClearCase.

Lotus Notes: (3, Funny)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117627)

The only winning move is not to play.

~Philly

Re:Lotus Notes: (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118973)

actually I must be the only one who read the patent. It makes no mention to Lotus Notes at all.

you FUail KIt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117643)

to happen. My Violated. In the bulk of the FrreBSD OF AMERICA) is the become an un3anted The most. Look at words, don't get

PRIOR ART (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117725)

Hey, my grade-school teacher had prior art on that one, from "No chewing gum in school" to "There'll be a test at the end."

This patent is just more bullshit. Didn't IBM get the memo on "in re Bilski"? Can't patent something that's not a product ...

Re:PRIOR ART (1)

eggbert.net (217798) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117911)

"In re Biliski" does not require something to be "a product" to patent it. There is no commercial success or commercialization requirement to get a patent. What Biliski requires is that the actual claim language for a process claim (1) is tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or (2) it transforms a particular article into a different state or thing.

Useless feature (2, Insightful)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117749)

This looks like like a personnel management problem than a technological problem, and is easier and probably cheaper to approach it by traditional means. If one of your subordinates is goofing off with his email and not paying attention to you, tell him to stop. If he doesn't, call HR and determine the appropriate level of censure.

Re:Useless feature (1)

AndrewStephens (815287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117801)

I agree, but on the other hand any technology that suppresses Lotus Notes is during meetings (or at any other time) is a boon for mankind, even if it takes out other apps as well.

Re:Useless feature (2, Informative)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117845)

I have to agree with you, as well. Notes is a pox on email, and while I understand it has a lot of programmability in theory, in practice at least 75% of people use it only for email, and a good chunk of the remainder use it for only email and calendar. And yet the Mac version of the app is as big as MS Office '04, and nearly '08. The PC version is little better.

Re:Useless feature (1)

AndrewStephens (815287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118043)

The "In Theory" part is right. I worked for a large company with a huge Notes installation. We were supposed to be running with all sorts of customizations but I could never tell the difference.

The REAL problem with Notes is not its arcane interface or weird scripting. Notes' fatal flaw is that although it may have seemed cool in 1995, its claim to fame (simple distributed database backed forms) would be better done by web apps. This was true in 2000 and it is certainly true now. Being obsoleted by newer technology is no shame, but Notes isn't even a very good mail client.

Re:Useless feature (2, Funny)

bigsteve@dstc (140392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118381)

What happens if it is your boss who is not paying attention? Do you report him to HR?

What if an attendee is not actually goofing off, but being distracted by email from his boss or subordinates who are not actually in the meeting?

Re:Useless feature (1)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118517)

If each employee gets his job done, i.e. meeting or exceeding assessment criteria without being a complete a-hole, I don't see the harm. In the example of an email from the boss, it may be a higher priority item that needs addressing sooner. Obviously if there are clients involved it's a different can of worms, but laterals and subordinates can put on their big boy pants, and your managers may vary.

Re:Useless feature (1)

bigsteve@dstc (140392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118547)

So what you are saying is that as a meeting convener you would not see the need to use an email blocker for a meeting. What about people who might see the need to do this ... in the face of bosses, laterals and/or subordinates who don't know how to behave?

My point is that I have experienced situations where an email blocker would have been a very helpful.

Summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117945)

At first glance this seems absurd. Then you read the patent and realize that it isn't a patent saying anyone who doesn't use lotus notes must pay. Instead it says if a system is used to block lotus notes it would be in violation of the patent unless it was big blues system. Seems legit to me.

Tags (1)

mail2345 (1201389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117959)

Where's the whatcouldgowrong tag?

Seriously, it isn't like that this can't be used for Orwellian substitution/censor-NO CARRIER - CONNECT - DISREGARD THAT I THINK THIS IS A GREAT IDEA

job security (4, Funny)

vandelais (164490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117963)

Do nothing. Schedule meetings all day. Prevents termination by Lotus Notes. Works for middle management!

Patent on blocking male advances (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27117985)

Newsflash: Woman patents rejecting a guy's advances. The technology, dubbed Method and Apparatus to Block Male Advances, is patented under U.S. Patent #562434645779680584735235644. What that means for us geeks is that if you ask out a girl, she must say "Yes" unless she licenses that patent.

Let me explain.... (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 5 years ago | (#27117991)

..no, there is too much. let me sum up...

1. During meetings, people like to do other work. Shocking, I know.

2. At IBM - as in many shops that use Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime - a large amount of the things people work on, are done using these tools.

3. IBM's customers, in some cases, want to prevent people from doing non-meeting things during their meetings. Probably, this is more about meetings using shared screens and browser based meeting software -- prevent it from being backgrounded.

4. IBM Software people are expected to generate patents on a fairly regular basis.

So, IBM developers come up with a feature for some customer or other, it seems unique so they patent it. There are thousands of these silly patents going on all the time.

btw: This is not a pro-notes or anti-notes post. If you hate notes, nobody cares. If you like notes, that's great but still not at all germane to the current topic.

draconian companies and obsolete solutions (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118105)

This is a great idea if your some draconian control freak company. If your primary line of business is trying to stifle innovation and make your employees miserable please by all means get this software installed on your obsolete mail system.

The concept of a "mail server" is slowly becoming obsolete. With Google Apps a company can do exactly what they did with Lotus Notes or Exchange just as securely for a fraction of the cost. Why do so many people still run mail servers and their own BES servers? They have blinders on. The refuse to see the world has changed and left them in the dust. All the normal functionality of mail and even custom written apps for e-mail and mobile devices can be done through Lotus Notes. Except for those crummy little Notes Databases that I avoided using like the plague because they sucked so bad and had outdated information in them. BTW Ex IBM employee here!

I would love it if my company installed this software on my Macbook. During meetings I am quietly tapping away and working while listening in the meeting. I would be more than happy to give up my shell and stare blankly at the meeting presenters and take notes on my legal pad. And it would cost my company 2 to 3 times as much to do the same amount of work as during meetings which often don't pertain directly to me I would be getting paid to do nothing!

An even better idea would be to take away most computer users ability to multitask all together. We should have green screen applications that run on 5250 terminals so we can concentrate on one task at a time. Sorry Mr. Manager I am reading my e-mail your dying server will have to wait until I have completed and replied to everything before closing out that application to log into the server and see whats going on.

IBM has a lot of innovators that work for them. They unfortunately are beat down by the draconian middle level managers and idiots that could never survive anywhere else. Ah yes. The putty colored cube farm with the overly bright florescent lights. The crappy 15 inch tube monitor faced toward the cube isle so you have no privacy. The "clean desk policy" forbidding people from leaving items on their desk. The security team that sniffed the network like crazy and who would roam the cube farm looking for someone who went to the bathroom and left their drawers unlocked. What innovative ideas!

Not just IBM (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118459)

The clean desk policy and security stuff is something I have seen at other places with cube farms too.
And there are good reasons for it too. The last thing you want is some cleaner earning 5c a night spotting something someone left out on the desk labeled "confidential" and deciding to steal it and offer it to the highest bidder.

Swell (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118281)

Now if they could patent Lotus Notes-Free everything else, life would be good. I live in constant fear that I'll get hired back into a Lotus Notes shop and have to use that steaming turd of an excuse for an e-mail client. Anything at all that restricts its usage is OK in my book.

Most of the time we play solitaire in the meetings anyway.

VMware, anyone? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118327)

It does sound like anyone bored by the meeting should be running their Lotus Notes in VMware. I run Windows in virtualization anyway, to stabilize hardware interactions with my desktop and laptop.

Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118417)

I'm going to patent not letting your employees drink on the job, and not license it to anyone!

Over tweny years of experience has taught me... (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118631)

...that 80% of meetings are unnecessary. I think I'll patent some technology which addresses this issue.

Re:Over tweny years of experience has taught me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118979)

>Over tweny years of experience

>OneSmartFellow (716217)

Right.

Re:Over tweny years of experience has taught me... (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119063)

Surely typo's are a poor indication of 'smarts'

next patent - Lotus free work environment (1)

piotru (124109) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118765)

For boosting the productivity.
Seriously, Lotus is the curse of many teams I work(ed) with and only a few had guts enough to force management into excluding them from the beast's reach.

I have been at Lotus Notes free meetings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27118789)

before it was introduced so I claim it fails under Prior Art.

prior art? (1)

phantomjinx (1024513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27118907)

How about just demanding all laptop lids should be shut?

IBM Wants Patent For Lotus Notes-Free Meetings (1, Redundant)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27119305)

Dear Mr Anyanwu,
I understand that you and your tribal chiefs held a tribal meeting without lotus notes last Tuesday. This is in direct infringement of our patent, and I hereby issue a cease and desist order. The fact that you have no computer or electricity does not give you the right to ignore our intellectual property rights. If you would like to cont
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