Musical Memory

Here's a blog post that diverges from my usual ho-hum, and will hopefully appeal to my non-technical readers.

Do you have a certain episode in your memory that is always triggered when you hear a particular song? Was the significance of that moment so intense, and did the song fit so perfectly with that instance, that the two will be forever paired in your mind? If you do, I certainly hope that the memory was a good one.

Mine certainly was, and the song was "Let's Spend the Night Together" by The Rolling Stones.

Although the name of the song might allude to some incredible one-night romance, that's not exactly the case. The reason that this song is so strongly imprinted in my memory, is because it floods me with the same feeling I got when I became a dad for the first time. Indeed, the moment was the night after my son Jules was born.

We were at saint Mary's hospital in Montreal, and all of us (Erin, Bo, Nora, Jules! and myself) all had an extremely long night with the labour, and subsequent early morning delivery (especially Erin!). After taking a few hours to absorb the initial wow-ness of the new life we brought into the world, we were completely exhausted, and slumbered through a large portion of the day and evening. As often is the case with hospitals, they required us to spend an extra night in observation to ensure that both Erin & Jules were in good enough health to be released the following day. Jules, like any newly born baby, spent most of his time sleeping, until later on that night.

It must have been around midnight or so when he woke up and was crying something terrible. Erin and I checked him out, and, yes, he needed his first diaper to be changed. On one hand, Erin had never before changed a diaper - ever! And on the other hand, I hadn't changed one in about 10 years (I had some previous babysitting experience). Needless to say, we were both a little nervous.

So we disposed of Julien's dirty work, and carried him gently over to the wash basin and gave him a quick rinse with some warm water, all the while singing something - anything! It was actually the first song that popped into my head. I had been on a Stones kick for a good week before that. So Erin and I were both singing this Rolling Stones song to n-hour old Jules. The words go something like "let's spend the night to-ge-ther, now I need you more than e-ver, " and those were probably all the lyrics I could remember at the time, but it didn't matter.

After some initial clumsiness, we securely fastened the new couche on to Jules, and curled up on the same hospital bed - something that is typically frowned upon - but we just did what came naturally. Jules, Erin and I fell back asleep, in comfort, a few moments later.

Today I was putting in some overtime studying for my next exams - Optical and High Speed Communication. This song, along with the thoughts and memories that it evoked, was motivating me to study hard the whole day, because I know what's waiting for me when I'm done.

Dad is coming home soon.


PsqlDroid: A Native PostgreSQL Library for Android

I was a bit bored with my current project, and was looking over some of the work I did recently, and remembered that I ported PostgreSQL to Android a while ago. After gaining approval to make my work publicly available, I put it up on Google Code. So be sure to check out the PsqlDroid project page if you're interested.

There is still a considerable amount of work to be done to publish Java bindings in the Dalvik VM (probably with with the existing PostgreSQL JDBC driver).

Any help is appreciated!


Apple is Suing HTC for Software Patent Violations

Recently when I wrote a small rant about software patents, I guess I should have also given a thumbs up to HTC, the company that manufactured the Nexus One and many other Android handsets.

On the other hand, it seems that Apple is not too pleased with HTC at all.

Apple has essentially patented a device driver (i.e. software). Read the first 30 bytes from patent #7479949, and you will quickly realize that it is moot. Here are those 30 bytes for your convenience:

"A computer implemented method" ...

Although many people think that Apple has a hardware patent on multi-touch / capacitive touch screens, they do not, just as I suspected (at least according to patent #7479949). I also suspect that a 3rd party company was responsible for designing and fabricating "Apple's" multi-touch screens, although Apple was certainly not the first to demonstrate multi-touch.

Naturally, it is in the best interests of that 3rd party company (whoever they are) to sell more of their touch screens but that is something which Apple has wholly tried to prevent (via software patents).

For the (approximate) 6.4 billion people in the world who do not live in the US - fear not - you have a legal right to buy a multi-touch enabled phone from a company other than Apple.

For those who live in the US... unfortunately, you might have to edit a few lines of code to get multi-touch in a "legal" way. If Apple really feels like it, they might be able to bar HTC from enabling multi-touch support in Android for all devices sold in the US, although seeing as how it is a free OS, there is little preventing consumers from enabling it themselves. Apple will also undoubtedly try and gouge HTC for "lost revenue".

Good luck with that, Apple.

Hopefully, the USPTO will flag this case like many others and revoke Apple's software patents.