29 November 2011

Jottify, a website for writers

Jottify is a website where writers can "share, read and sell". I was told about it by its founder a few days ago, when he was explaining it at one of our free meetings where new entrepreneurs can discuss their business ventures.

He mentioned that BBC's Click was going to mention him on their TV broadcast at the weekend. It did indeed, about 20 minutes and 30 seconds into it -- with comments like "nice" and "homely feel". Here is the episode (UK users only). It is easy to navigate, and its interactivity encourages comment and voting on favourite pieces of writing. I can see if becoming a popular site for those who love writing.

We normally see those wanting to set up a business at an earlier stage -- the site has been live for months -- so we discussed ideas for the future.

So who is the founder ? He is a pleasant and enthusiastic man, who has extensive experience of building websites to encourage writers. He's a bit shy on the site, but you can find his picture if you click on "About" on the bottom left of the home page -- the "founder, developer and designer": Jack Lenox.

14 November 2011

Inventions for 3D measuring for clothing

The Sunday Times yesterday had an interesting article by Kevin Dowling titled "Virtual tailor sizes you up for buying clothes online." It's about German company UPcload and its invention to enable "trying on" clothes on a 3D image of yourself, which could be used by online retailers.

The article says that customers browsing in a shop are ten times more likely to buy than if they use an online retailer. The aim is to improve those figures. If they are effective and don't take too much time they would certainly remove a big barrier in the trade. Perhaps they would be free to the user, in which case it would add costs for the retailer.

I haven't traced a published patent application by the company, but there are a number of patent specifications for using 3D methods to remotely assess the sizes of people for clothing purposes.

An example is System and method for displaying selected garments on a computer-simulated mannequin which is by now fewer than 12 inventors on behalf of Canadian company My Virtual Model Inc.

Computer simulated mannequin for garments patent image
The subject area is a bit tricky to research but here is a list of mostly relevant patent specifications on the same topic.

UPcload hopes to launch the product in the UK in the summer of 2012 following trials in Germany and a trial, just launched, in the USA with North Face.

04 March 2010

Facebook and its news feed for social networks patent

There has been a lot of (mainly unfavourable) publicity about Facebook's American patent 7669123, granted and published the 23 February.

It was actually published as an application two years earlier, so the hoo-hah about it now seems a little odd. 

The patent, whose title is Dynamically providing a news fed about a user of a social network, automatically updates changes to the sites of friends of the user/ member. Here is the main drawing graphically illustrating that.

Facebook news feed patent

The patent says that the content can be displayed in various orders (e.g. chronologically), that the news feeds can include media content, and so on. Content can also be taken from different databases within the network. Choosing to accept the news feed is stated to be optional, but clearly those providing the content cannot choose to block it.

This is a list of the US patent applications by Facebook, with mentions of community translation, privacy summary and community flyers. None have yet been granted, and those concerned about what Facebook is doing should study them.

A lot of the annoyance is due to the fact that patents in software block the method (and not just the precise code used) to others unless licensed. Other social networking sites could be limited in the range of their activities. It has been pointed out that if someone can show this method being used before Facebook thought of it then the patent can be revoked.