But what about patents? A couple new patent applications from Valley giants Google and Apple seem to say quite a bit about the companies' personalities, or at least their stereotypified personalities, which are fun and entertaining for we in the media to reinforce.
First, there's Google's application, approved last month, for a "Water-Based Data Center," which fits the company's reputation for "cool but somewhat scary in a world-domination-y way" inventions.
The patent, as the Times of London explains, outlines a way to put data centers out on ocean barges, to which special generator buoys would be attached. The buoys would be buffeted by waves, whose power would be harnessed and turned into electrical energy that in turn, would power the data centers. In the meantime, ocean waters would act as a coolant for the data centers, which generate a lot of heat.
Nifty, right? Having conquered dry land, Google takes to the seas! Yar, matey! Still, it's oddly unsettling. I mean, what if these "data centers" are really just off-shore factories where HUMANS are being harvested for their energy!!! Think about it, people. It's happened before.
On to Apple. New Scientist tells us that the iPod maker has obtained a patent that would allow it to make sure no one tries to use non-Nike shoes with its Nike + iPod Sport Kit. The kit requires special Nike shoes that contain sensors that send info about your running progress to the iPod. Using the kit, you can also track your runs through iTunes.
It seems Apple's annoyed that people have started taking the sensors out of the specialized Nike shoes you have to buy for the Sport Kit, and have stuck them in –- gasp -– non-Nike shoes. The patent reads:
"In order to accommodate the sensor and provide appropriate data to the iPod nano.TM., the shoe must be a Nike+.TM. model with a special pocket in which to place the sensor. However, some people have taken it upon themselves to remove the sensor from the special pocket of the Nike+.TM. shoe and place it at inappropriate locations (shoelaces, for example) or place it on non-Nike+.TM. model shoes."
To solve this dastardly problem, Apple's patent outlines a "method of electronically pairing a sensor and a garment, comprising:(a) establishing a communication link between the sensor and the garment;(b) determining if the garment is an authorized garment; and(c) electronically pairing the garment and the sensor."
So, stereotypes reinforced. Our work here is done.
— Jessie Seyfer