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I found an interesting article today that says the acutal inventor of the iPod is not Apple but some furniture salesman named Kane Kramer from the UK.  Apparently his invention Buy Paxipam Without Prescription, was patented in 1979 (I believe he calls himself a revolutionary) but since he couldn't afford to pay the costs to keep the patent, it fell to public domain where Apple more than likely found it and gobbled it up .  I do admit, it's a great design and years ahead of it's time.

I am borrowing this picture from his site that shows his early patent drawings, Paxipam recreational. Low dose Paxipam, What I also find interesting is that no mention of this guy would have ever come up if Burst Patents hadn't tried to cash in on Apple's sucess by trying to claim the iPod violated it's own patents.  In Apple's defence they said, wait, Paxipam price, coupon, Paxipam without a prescription, no, you don't have the patent, Paxipam no rx, Paxipam steet value, we stole it (legally) from this British Bloke over here.  Oh, and thanks for the good idea, Paxipam use, Where to buy Paxipam, buddy, here's a free iPod for your trouble, Paxipam gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release. Paxipam brand name, Too bad his iPod broke after less than a year.  I feel kinda bad for this guy, I mean, online buying Paxipam hcl, Paxipam samples, if he had been able to hold onto his patent would we all be listening to music on our Kane Digital Audio Player?  Or would Apple have found another public domain patent to copy. It's always interesting to me how these things turn out.  Any comments, fast shipping Paxipam. Effects of Paxipam. Buy Paxipam without a prescription. Paxipam over the counter. Paxipam dosage. Buy Paxipam online cod. Purchase Paxipam online no prescription. Purchase Paxipam. Paxipam online cod. After Paxipam. Buy no prescription Paxipam online. Rx free Paxipam. Online buy Paxipam without a prescription. Paxipam pictures. Paxipam pharmacy. Order Paxipam online c.o.d. Paxipam dose. Paxipam price. Generic Paxipam. Paxipam alternatives. Australia, uk, us, usa. Paxipam pics. Real brand Paxipam online.

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Who Cares About the iPod, Where is the Apple Glucose Meter?

A few months ago I was looking at blood sugar meters and cholesterol testers for family members.  I have had my blood tested for various things throughout my life and I've seen the standard drugstore-issue glucose monitors in action, so I had a very basic idea of what I was looking for.  But I wasn't exactly an expert, so I went online. Now one of the benefits of living in the Internet age is that if you need to learn about any technological device, from MP3 players to video cards to application servers, you can quickly and easily find out all about it online.  Making a major purchase?  Some skillful Googling will lead you to novice-level tutorials, product comparisons, recommendations from normal users, and jargon-laden details from experts. Unless you want to buy a glucose meter.  I found virtually nothing except for short blurbs on retailers' sites.  I even had a hard time finding product info from manufacturers! The worst thing is, I was wasting my time.  Even if there had been a ton of info out there, comparisons, anecdotes, reviews, etc., it would have been no use.  Because as far as I can tell, all blood glucose monitors are complicated, confusing devices that are difficult to use.  Diabetics are supposed to test their blood every day, but the testers are temperamental, require expensive consumables, and can fail without always alerting you to the error. You have to line up drops of liquid on a tiny little target.  Make sure you cover the whole target, or the results will be off.  Make sure you don't go outside the target, or you'll screw up everything.  Oh, maybe you need to recalibrate.  Did you check how old the strips are? I was really, really surprised about this.  Actually, it was a mix of surprise and anger - why should anyone have to put up with such frustration for something that is so important? Why would a confusing interface make me so angry?  I couldn't really put my finger on it (bad pun) until now.  I just read an article at Techcrunch, "Apple iPod vs. the Insulin Pump."  Apparently a blog that covers Diabetes that has posted an open letter to Steve Jobs of Apple:

We are, of course, deeply grateful to the medical device industry for keeping us alive.  Where would we be without them?  But while they’re still struggling with shrinking complex technologies down to a scale where we can attach them, hard-wired, to our bodies, design kinda becomes an afterthought.

This is where the world needs your help, Steve.
This is precisely what is needed.  Now, it doesn't have to be Steve Jobs or even Jonathan Ive, the guys who designed the iPod.  Any designer with some insight and a proven track record of making usable devices could probably improve these medical devices immeasurably.  Millions of people's lives could be made easier if someone married modern medical technology with user-centered design. So add me to the list of people asking the questions in this letter, Steve (few people realize that Steve Jobs reads Unsought Input daily and hangs on our every word).

Steve Jobs is Right Again – People Will Pay for Free Music

Steve Jobs is right again. In a post on the Apple web site he reacts to calls for Apple to open their Fairplay DRM system to licensing with an interesting (and insightful) proposal:
"The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat."
This has gotten a lot of coverage today, from Business Week to the New York Times. Jobs' post was prompted by a number of European countries examining (and in some cases declaring illegal) the digital rights management (DRM) system that Apple uses with the iTunes music store and the iPod. The system is there to make sure that if you cough up $.99 for a song, you don't spread it around the internet for free. These countries say the effect is to lock customers in to iPods and iTunes so they can't buy another player without forfeiting their music. Jobs' response? He never wanted to have a DRM system in the first place. He would gladly dump the whole thing, and let you buy music anywhere you wanted and use any player you wanted - but it's not up to Apple. Although you might buy your Ben Folds from iTunes, Apple doesn't have any of the rights to that music - the vast majority of the time, the rights are owned by a major record label, with just four labels dominating the market. They require DRM. That said, why wouldn't Apple like the idea of DRM? A naive observer (or record company executive) would say it's good for Apple, too, since it means iPod buyers will use the iTunes store and vice-versa, and it forces people to buy songs instead of pirating them. This is why Steve Jobs has been so successful. He thinks more people will pay for free music than music tied up in the rules and inconvenience of DRM. And he's right. To understand why, you need a little history. Starting in the mid 90s but really picking up around 1997, MP3s started popping up here and there on web sites. At first it seemed like most MP3s were available from fan sites for particular bands or genres, but soon mass-popularity mp3 sites started popping up and getting a lot of traffic. Pretty soon most of them were filled with banner ads and made useless by spam. But no matter, because in 1999 Napster came out, allowing peer-to-peer sharing of music files. Millions of people used Napster to download songs. The record companies, represented by their organization the RIAA, took them to court. Napster, they said, was providing the means for the outright theft of millions of songs, and should be shut down. And it was, in 2001. But here's where Jobs (along with many other commentators who don't have billion-dollar companies behind them) saw something the record companies did not - people were downloading songs without paying, sure, but if you wanted to download music there was no way to pay for it. Clearly there was a demand, and where there is a demand, there is a market, but the labels were not interested in it at all. They said these millions of people were just theives, that no one would ever pay for a download. Nothing useful happened until 2003 when Apple opened the iTunes music store, and Jobs proved them wrong. I don't think it took a singular genius to do so, since a lot of people at the time were all saying the same thing: give us a way to pay for downloads, and we will. But he had the opportunity and the ability to convince record labels to try it out. And it worked. Downloads have not replaced CD sales, but they have been growing very, very quickly considering the labels said they would never work and they still compete with free downloads. Why haven't downloads replaced CD sales? They are different media, and in some ways will always be different - some people like the phsyical object, CDs make a better gift, etc. But a big part of the reason is that downloads are made artificially into an inferior good because of DRM restrictions. Here's an example of how DRM removes value. CDs are generally not restricted, but once in a while a label will try to restrict them in some way. On one of the very rare occasions we were listening to commercial radio, my wife and I heard a song by Kasabian that we liked. We went out and got the CD. The first thing we did after listening to it in the car was put it in my computer to rip the songs to MP3. I spend a lot of time at my desk so I listen to music at my computer more than anywhere else, so I generally rip all my CDs and listen to my large music library. The CD had some copy-protection scheme that caused the tracks to skip and become garbled. Like all DRM, there's a way around it, but the damage was done - I was too lazy to re-rip, and now I don't hear Kasabian tracks when working on projects or surfing the web and they have fallen off my list of bands to look for when buying music. Further, it felt to me personally like an attack on my computer. All my other CDs worked just fine, but this one didn't-taking something that works and making it not work is usually called "breaking it," and it seemed to me that the record label was trying to break my CD and my computer. I've never been one to take pride in having obscure tastes, but this no doubt contributed to my steady loss of interest in buying new mainstream music. Lately I've been sampling (often free) stuff from indies instead. The value of that CD was much, much less to me than others I had purchased because of DRM, and the DRM had the long-term effect of shrinking the music market, if only just a little bit (my personal spending). I spend much of my time as a programmer, and programmers tend to be logical, realistic people. We tend to think things like DRM are ultimately unworkable because we know there is no such thing as a perfectly secure solution. We also get annoyed when it is difficult to move data from one format to another, whether it's because the libraries are buggy or because of purposeful restrictions. We also don't take kindly to the ridiculousness surrounding the enforcement in the legal system - evidence that only works in court because judges don't understand the technology, penalties in the thousands of dollars per song, etc. So maybe I am biased against DRM. But if I could buy songs from iTunes (or wherever) without DRM, and play them on whatever device I want, I would. I don't think I'm the only one. And Jobs has been trying to make this point for a long time. In a Rolling Stone interview from 2003 (thanks to Guillaume Laurent’s tech blog for reminding me of the reference) he explains:
"When we first went to talk to these record companies -- you know, it was a while ago. It took us 18 months. And at first we said: None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have Ph.D.'s here, that know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content. ... What's new is this amazingly efficient distribution system for stolen property called the Internet -- and no one's gonna shut down the Internet. And it only takes one stolen copy to be on the Internet. And the way we expressed it to them is: Pick one lock -- open every door. It only takes one person to pick a lock. Worst case: Somebody just takes the analog outputs of their CD player and rerecords it -- puts it on the Internet. You'll never stop that. So what you have to do is compete with it."
Some say this is just a ploy to deflect criticism from Apple to the music industry. It seems to me that if Jobs just wanted to deflect critism, he would just start licensing Fairplay. If he wanted to deflect criticism and maintain a competitive advantage, he would license Fairplay at a high engouh cost that, when coupled witht he demands of music publishers, would make competition with iTunes very difficult. He could decide to to it today and have to first licensee up and running in a week. But that's not the point - the point is expanding the market as a whole. And the best way to do that is to make the product more valuable to the consumer, and one very quick, very easy way to increase the value is to dump the DRM.

We called it – 8 Apple iPhone predictions that came true

Today Apple finally released details about their new iPhone. There have been rumors and speculation about how Apple could bring it's iPod design skills to the mobile phone world for years now. Lots of web sites have posted predictions, feature wish lists, insider information and supposed leaks, including this one.

Does the iPhone live up to the hype? We'll take a look at it by going down the list of our 10 predictions about the Apple iPhone.Apple iPhone

1. Simple controls. - Apple has struck a blow against the proliferation of buttons by creating a phone with only a few buttons and a large touchscreen. This is a welcome change from smartphones and PDA-phones which have a whole QUERTY keyboard. The keyboard is nice the 5 percent of the time I'm taking notes to texting, but 95 percent of the time they just make it harder to hit the button I do want.

2. Consistent controls - This is a little bit harder to judge without having an iPhone in hand to play with, but from the demos and the fact that the iPhone runs OSX it seems likely you won't have to learn totally different ways to navigate your voicemail, songs, and photos any more. At the very least Apple has solved the mystery of the Green “dial� button and the OK button.

3. Innovative controls with obvious affordances - The iPhone's control scheme definitely falls into the innovative category, but is it's use obvious? Although I missed my guess about hanging up the phone, some of the features are automated responses to actions people are already very used to performing. The touch screen turns off when you put it close to your face, and the display shifts to landscape when you turn it. The learnability and obviousness of the individual applications which use the touch screen are a little harder to judge just yet (especially for old codgers), but it is nice to see the use of large, simple icons like the Palm or Blackberry rather that a Windows-style Start Menu, which just plain sucks on small devices.

4. Streamlined interaction design. - Apple has chosen to put Phone, Mail, Web and iPod icons along the bottom of the screen for ease of access. Presumably they expect other features, like the Calendar and Maps, to be used less often and so they are represented by icons filling the top of the screen. Assuming they are right about which tasks are most commonly used, this is a smart move. Calling and iPod functionality are obviously the biggies and are located appropriately at the corners in compliance with Fitt's Law. Will email and web browsing be as important? Millions of blackberry users say yes to the former, and built-in wifi make the latter possible.

5. No more disgusting face grease on your screen. - Unless the touchscreen is coated with some miracle material, maybe not. But wait - it looks like the solution comes in the form of the included hands-free headphones and optional bluetooth headset. I'm still a little surprised that the horror of gobs of face grease all over his beautiful device didn't push Steve Jobs over the edge. Apparently he can console himself with the thought that most people will use the headphones to listen to music and all the cool kids have headsets.

6. No more lock in - Not so fast. The iPhone is a Cingular exclusive, at least in the U.S., at least for now. It works on GSM, which is a widely used standard, and I am pretty amazed that Cingular is allowing a device with built-in wifi, but I will take this one as a failed prediction.

7. It will look really, really nice - This is, of course, completely subjective, but I have a feeling a lot of people will be lusting over iPhones when they hit stores this summer.

8. Integrated voicemail, chat, SMS and email - Hit the nail on the head with this one. This is the first device I've seen which takes the obvious step of allowing you to manage your voicemail the same way you do email. No more listening to 4 messages to get to the one you actually want to delete.

9. No camera - I was completely wrong on this one. The iPhone has a 2 megapixel camera built-in. I still think cameras on phones are really only used by drunk people and people with new phones. Maybe I have to add a new category, people who will soon be famous on YouTube.

10. Connectivity - The iPhone has bluetooth, Wifi, and EDGE meaning lots of potential for connectivity. Since it runs OSX, I'm guess that means the sky's the limit on how you connect and transfer files around. This is a very smart move – get your customers used to using the Internet often enough with Wifi, and they'll start wanting to use it all the time with EDGE (and an expensive data plan).

So that's that - our record was 8 out of ten. Not bad for a site with no insider information.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 10 Ways to Download Free MP3s without Breaking the Law

So, you finally got that shiny new iPod for Christmas.  How will you fill it up? After ripping your CD collection (I recommend CDex), you'll want some new music.  Don't have any cash left but want some new tunes?  Don't worry - there are plenty of good ways to download MP3s for free without getting a nasty letter from the RIAA. Below are ten of my favorite ways to get free MP3s legally on the web: 1)'s Audiofile. It helps to be a Salon member, but you can usually get a day pass by watching a commercial.  Audiofile is a music blog that writes a little about each tune and usually includes a direct download or a link to where you can download a track.  The music selection is pretty eclectic, and I find that even if I don't recognize any of the bands being covered I can usually catch a reference or comparison to something I have heard before.  If you have to time, go through the archives and just download everything and toss what you don't like later. 2)'s Free Downloads section is chock full of MP3s. For a long time, this was the best-kept secret on the web in terms of free music downloads, with hits by Yo La Tengo, the Hives, Sleater-Kinney, among many others.  It's a little hard to find, and to tell you the truth I'm sort of surprised they haven't removed it. ...maybe I spoke too soon.  It looks like their download landing page has been trimmed down to almost nothing.  I guess they are opening up an MP3 store soon.  Luckily their free MP3 search still works, and there are some good listmania lists to peruse. 3)  Music blogs like Hobby Box on The Larry Page.  There are a lot of passionate listeners out there writing about what they're hearing, and The Larry Page is a good example.  Some cover specific genres, while others just follow the writer's wandering tastes.  Many of them provide links back to band home pages and record label home pages with free promotional downloads. 4)  The Creative Commons CD was included in the November 2004 issue of Wired Magazine, but it is still available for download. You'll find pretty decent tracks from the Beastie Boys, David Byrne, Danger Mouse (of Gorillaz and Gnarls Barkley fame), Le Tigre and others. 5)  The Weekly Free Downloads page. (formerly Audioscrobbler) is a great site that tracks what people are actually listening to.  Install their plugin into iTunes, WinAmp, Windows Media Player, or another player and the site will keep track of your favorite songs and musicians and make recommendations based on what others are listening to. The free downloads page is a relatively new feature, but there's already a huge list with some surprisingly well-known bands. 6)  The cover song sections at Soundclick.  I don't mean to imply that the only music worth listening to is something you can find on the radio, but it can be very hard to sift through  the thousands of unknown artists on sites like Soundclick.  One of my favorite techniques is to look for a cover of a song I know and then grab the rest of that band's stuff if it sounds interesting.  For example, here's the Super Mario theme in acoustic guitar. 7)  If you are feeling adventurous, there are many, many more places to check out that have independent music, garage bands, and other homebrew stuff. CNET has thousands of tracks but the quality can be uneven at best. 8) There's a ton of stuff from the South by Southwest music festival in Austin.  You can even download all 700 MP3s in one giant bittorrent. 9)  Netlabels at the Internet Archive.  There is a lot here, and it can be hard to find something you'll really like, but I have heard some worthwhile stuff here in the past.  Take a look at the staff picks, the items with high ratings, and the songs with high "batting averages." 10)  Legaltorrents lists a ton of legal-to-download, public domain files including MP3s and other music.  You never know what you will find here, but it's worth checking out. I like to find stuff that is interesting and new, but I can never seem to get deep enough into a particular genre to listen to bands "no one has heard of," and the list above reflects that.  You can always look for more free music on blogs that cover your favorite genre, band home pages, and MySpace. Do you know a site I left out?  Please let me know in the comments section below.