Some final thoughts on ‘Jeopardy!’

Portrait of Martin Luther (Wikimedia Commons)

Now I know how Weird Al felt.

The one thing I couldn’t talk about in the interview I posted in this space Tuesday night about my experience on “Jeopardy!” was what actually happened on the show.

Honestly, I had forgotten some things until I watched Wednesday night, such as how well I knew my six-letter anagrams. (Watching myself on television was kind of surreal. My family would cheer when I got answers right and groaned when I missed. “Don’t worry,” I said after a wrong answer. “Plenty of time for a comeback.”)

But I remembered exactly how the game ended. I was slightly disappointed to get the Daily Double on the second-t0-last clue in Double Jeopardy! because a) Astronomy is not my best category; and b) I wanted to make sure I had enough money to have a shot in Final Jeopardy!

I guessed right and was able to close the gap between first place and myself to under $3,000 before Final Jeopardy!

And then 16th Century People happened.

When I saw the Final Jeopardy! category, I immediately thought, “This is going to be either very easy or very hard.” A couple of explorers’ and artists’ names crossed my mind, but not the person who ultimately turned out to be the correct answer. (He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is pictured above.)

Once the clue was revealed, all I could think of was, “The pope.” I figured that would be too generic but nothing else came to mind, so I went with my first instinct. (Most people I’ve talked to since the show aired said they thought of the pope as well. Even Alex Trebek told us after the show that was a hard question.)

I also knew, once the clue was revealed, that I would lose. In my preparation for the show, I decided that I was going to bet on myself in Final Jeopardy! That is, I didn’t want to bet $0, get the answer right and lose because I didn’t add to my total score. So I assumed both myself and the person in first place would get the answer correct and that I could go over-the-top with my bet.

My wife and a friend who is a professional poker player both pointed out that if we both were to get the question right, I would probably lose no matter what. This would mean I should bet a small amount of money (say, under $1,000) and assume first place would get the answer wrong, with my response not being a factor.

I had not thought about that, and that was the right strategy. But in the heat of the game, and with only a few minutes to figure out my gameplan, I decided to go big.

And I would probably do it again if in the same situation.I went to California with nothing and came back with a tote bag, a hat, $2,000, no regrets and the experience of a lifetime.

In related news, I’m now accepting offers to join Trivia Night teams.

Two ‘Jeopardy!’ contestants with all of the answers

Emily Goodlander Jeopardy!

Emily Goodlander with Alex Trebek. (Courtesy of Emily Goodlander)

Here’s the full transcript of a conversation I had last week with Emily Goodlander, my fellow contestant on an episode of “Jeopardy!” that airs Wednesday night.

Danny Jacobs: Why did you want to be on “Jeopardy!”?

Emily Goodlander: I think that every attorney secretly has this desire to be on “Jeopardy!” one day. It could just be me, but when you see the number of attorneys on each year, I think it’s a real high percentage.

DJ: Do you think it helps being an attorney?

EG: No. And I’m so glad they didn’t have a question or a category about law because those are the ones the attorneys always bomb in because we always overthink everything.

DJ:That was my worst nightmare, having a category I should know about, like the Ravens, and miss the question, that would’ve killed me. I think journalists are the same way. I think a lot of us spend every day being an expert on different topics and so we think that we’re just going to go on and know everything.

I’ve wanted to be on [“Jeopardy!”], I think for a while in the back of my mind. I’ve always liked trivia and game shows and news quizzes and filled my mind with a lot of useless information. It was only my girlfriend, now my wife, who pushed me to try out. And when she did that, it kind of all just happened.

DJ: It happened really quickly, too, I was surprised.

Did you get the call in September?

EG: I did. It was the best of times it was the worst of times because I was coming into work and getting onto the highway ramp and I rear-ended the car in front of me. And, full disclosure, this has already been adjudicated and everything. So I messed up the front of my car, her car is OK but I can’t move my car and I’m blocking the on-ramp, which makes morning commuters very happy, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’m waiting for the police and tow truck and I’m standing on the side of the road, emailing work “Hey, I’ve been in a car accident and I’m going to be in late.” And my phone rings with a number I don’t know and I think it’s the tow truck and I answer and it’s Glenn [Kagan, a “Jeopardy!” producer]. He’s like, “Hey Emily, it’s Glenn. How’s Baltimore?” And I’m saying, “Baltimore’s great.” I have no idea who Glenn is. And he says, “Are you still available to do “Jeopardy!”? It was really funny.

DJ: Wow, I had kind of a similar… it was actually just a best of times day because we had just closed on our house and so we’re moving in, we just got there, we’re just getting situated. And I get this call from California on my phone. And I’m thinking, “Who is calling me from California?” And it’s “Hi, it’s Corina [Nusu, another “Jeopardy!” producer] you’re going to be on the show.” I was like, “Wow! That’s great!” And I told my wife and she was ecstatic and she called her family but I was like, I want to get moving. I have all of these boxes here, I have to put stuff together, I kind of just forgot about it. I made a couple of calls and then went right back to work.

How was your studying or “studying”?

EG: It’s funny when I think about it because I right now, in addition to working a full work week I’m preparing for the Maryland Bar, which is a lot of studying. And studying for “Jeopardy!” is much more pleasurable. It’s slightly harder because it’s a completely open universe. At least for the Bar exam I know what to expect. But I sort of enjoyed studying. I think I picked out key categories that I thought would come up.

DJ: Did you watch a lot of shows?

EG: I didn’t have time to, which I was sort of… well, I don’t want to say I was upset about. I think watching the show gets you into the rhythm of it and helps you figure out what they’re looking for in the various categories.

DJ: I hadn’t watched much after I did my audition, I mean when it was on I would watch occasionally but I wasn’t glued to the television. Once I found out [I was going to be on], I DVR’d it and got, like the season pass. I was watching every day, taking notes. I was using the remote as a buzzer to try to practice.

EG: That is really smart.

DJ: It didn’t really help but… there was a website that has all these old “Jeopardy!” games catalogued, so I would go on there, during work hours, and play 2-3 games at a time just to, like you said, pick up on hints. A lot of categories repeat themselves, a lot of clues are the same. But I felt like… you can’t really study. You just have to know what you know.

EG: Yeah. You just have to fill your brain with information and take it from there.

DJ: When did it hit you that you were going to be on the show?

EG: Probably when I got on the plane to go to L.A. I had a very, very busy month during September and October, so I was working 60-hour weeks and I didn’t really have time to stress about it or get anxious about it. So I was on the plane to L.A. and had packed some books and things to review and I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is tomorrow.”

DJ: – Yeah, when I got on the plane, that was the first time, when I got to the hotel and they said, “You’re here for ‘Jeopardy!’?” and I said, “Yeah, that’s me.” And then the last time was when we walked and saw the stage. It was like, ‘Here we are, this is actually happening.’

EG: Yes, it’s very cool. I kept expecting to show up at the hotel and, “I’m sorry, “Jeopardy!”? We don’t have you on the list for that,” one of those things.

DJ: Were you nervous at all up there?

EG: Once I got to the show? I think it was a bit different for me because I was there Tuesday and of course they pull the names randomly, so you’re in this state of chronic anticipation. [Note: The show tapes five episodes per day, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.] Am I next? Am I next? And then it’s the end of the taping for the day and you haven’t gone. So you have all of this built-up anticipation and then it’s the next day and am I going to next? Am I going to go next? So I think more than anything, rather than being nervous, it was just exciting. It was just fun. I was so ready to get up there and take my turn.

Danny Jacobs Jeopardy!

Danny Jacobs with Alex Trebek. (Courtesy of Danny Jacobs)

DJ: I felt the anticipation, too. I didn’t want to be on the first show Wednesday, I to be able to at least see a show and… you got a whole day of watching, I wanted to see one and get a feel for it. I felt bad for the people who went on the first taping, that’s got to be rough.

EG: It is rough. And I remember sitting in the audience, because I didn’t know if we would be in the audience or be in the green room during the taping of the show. And I remember being in the audience watching some of these tapings and thinking, “Thank God I’m not on this show.”

DJ: Yes.

EG: Because I know nothing about the history of the Cadillac or one of those categories that was on there.

DJ: What’s the question people have been asking you the most since you got back?

EG: “Oh, can you tell me what happened?”

DJ: I get that and I also get, what’s Alex like?

EG: The “what’s Alex like” definitely. And “Did you meet Alex?” Which I think is a funny question to ask because if you’ve seen the show clearly there is interaction between you and Alex on the show.

What do you think was the most surprising thing to you?

DJ: How fast it went but how slow it went. …When we got up there and they started taping, I was like, “Here we go” and this was my last “This is happening” moment. Once they read the first clue and we started going, I felt better, like, I can do this. And then in the game, I felt like I could read everything and focus and answer and sort of process everything. But when it ended, it felt like it happened in five minutes.

EG: Exactly. I was really surprised by how small the stage was. It looks really massive on TV. The miracles of cameras I guess. I had no idea. I thought there would be a football field between us and the screen with how it looks on TV.

DJ: It can be very low-tech behind the scenes. I also didn’t realize the pedestals behind move up and down. I was always wondering how they get everyone to be the same height.

EG: Yes, I was wondering if they would bring out an apple crate or something since I’m on the shorter side.

DJ: Have you watched since you came back?

EG: I’ve watched a little bit but again I rarely get home in time to watch. But it’s been fun, especially during this past week to see a little bit of the show. Or hear people talk about it because those are the people I was out there with.

DJ: That’s right, you saw two weeks’ worth of shows.

EG: I know everything that happened. I know the person they’re talking about, the stories they’re talking about.

DJ: I have not watched since we were out there. And not because I’m bitter or upset or just – after that day, maybe you experienced this twice, I was so drained. I just wanted to do nothing. I know I saw you afterward and you looked spent as well.

EG: I was ready for a major nap.

DJ: And I had just no interest to watch. So I’ll tape next week because I know, like you said, what happened. So I haven’t watched, haven’t really paid attention. But as we’ve gotten closer, I’ve been getting excited.

EG: I’m really excited to watch because I think I’ve forgotten even the things I even rang into.

DJ: Yeah, I remember certain things but not the full day.

Have you gained any newfound appreciation for “Jeopardy!” contestants or the show?

EG: Absolutely. It’s tough. Watching “Jeopardy!” from home, it’s easy to say, “Where did they get these contestants? These people are idiots.” But being able to manage the buzzer very well is a huge, huge deal, and working under that pressure. And for returning champs, too. When you have 10-15 minutes between tapings, that’s exhausting.

DJ: People were asking me before I left, “What’s your buzzer strategy going to be?” kind of half-jokingly, but it really is. You really learn how much of it is about being able to buzz in. I don’t know about you, I felt like I knew the majority of the clues on the board, it was just a matter of being able to get in on time.

EG: I started thinking I should have worked on my thumb reflexes as much as the studying.

DJ: And you’re just kind of at the mercy as to how quick as you buzz. So watching now, I think I’ll understand that a lot of is, not luck, but a little bit of it is luck.

EG: You know, I think that probably when the three of us were finally up there on stage, the three of us shared likely 95 percent of the same knowledge base, and if [the clues] were given to us in the format of a test that we would have achieved probably the same score. It just really comes down to who’s buzzing in the fastest.

DJ: And when I was watching to prepare, I notice the people that were calm did a better job and were able to get their answers out. And watching people now, people that look nervous now I’ll understand why they look nervous. It’s not just flop-sweat. It’s intense.

EG: It’s definitely nerve-wracking. One of my personal strategies – not that it played out much to my advantage necessarily – during the taping was unless it was a Daily Double I didn’t look at the money that was on the board. I think that’s really dangerous. Because once you look up there and you start thinking, “I’m behind by this,” “This person is catching up by this,” I think you psyche yourself out.

DJ: That’s smart. I think I did that subconsciously. …And you have to remember, too, the money is real but it’s not real. You don’t have it yet.

EG: Oh, yeah, it’s the house money. That’s definitely the mindset that I went in with, that this going to be a great, fun experience and I can’t lose anything. Other than my dignity.

DJ: Well I think we both kept it, a little bit.

EG: As long as I was excluded from Final “Jeopardy!” for being in the hole.

DJ: Yes, once we got to Final “Jeopardy!”, I said, “We’re good.”

Has it been hard to keep the results from people?

EG: People have respected it pretty well, and being an attorney I think I’m inherently able to lock bits of information away and don’t have the impetus to shout them from the rooftops. …For me, it hasn’t really been difficult.

When I got home, my mom wanted to know immediately and my dad was on the other side. He wants it to be a completely exciting episode for him.

DJ: Oh, really? He doesn’t know?

EG: Anything, which I think is really fun.

DJ: Good for him. I talked to family after we were done that taping day, and that was really good to get it out. I told a couple people at work because I couldn’t last that long. But after that people have been kind of cool and they understand you can’t talk about it. I think they want to be surprised, too, and see how it goes.

EG: I haven’t told a single soul unless they were in the taping room.

DJ: Have you been invited to a lot trivia nights and quiz competitions by people?

EG: I have, sort of informally… “Emily’s been on “Jeopardy!”, we have to have her on our pub trivia night team.”

DJ: Yeah, I feel like there’s so much pressure on us now to be on these teams, and to win now, too.

EG: The funny part is, ever since the online test commercials have been airing, I’ve been getting random emails and Facebook messages from people I haven’t spoken to in years. [Note: Contestants at Tuesday’s taping filmed a commercial encouraging people to take the “Jeopardy!” online contestant test]  …The most frequent response from them, when I tell them that I am [going to be on “Jeopardy!”] is you have officially satisfied what I thought a smart person was in fifth grade.

DJ: A lot of people have told me they figured I would be on the show one day. I think no matter what happens [on the show], a lot of people will say, ‘Wow, that’s so cool, you were on “Jeopardy!”.’

EG: Exactly. Well, if you come in third in the New York Marathon, not too shabby.

Top 10 Gadgets at CES 2014

For the fourth consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams is guest blogging from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

As expected, there was a lot to see at CES this year. No one can see it all in four days, but here’s a list of the Top 10 gadgets that caught my attention.

Quadcopter

A quadcopter flies at the booth for dji, surrounded by safety netting. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

1. dji’s Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter with Integrated FPV Camera. This flying camera takes photography to a new level. It comes with a high-performance camera that takes still photos and records video with a radio-frequency remote controller that controls the quadcopter much like a flying model airplane. Camera settings can be adjusted using your smart phone or tablet. The photographer/pilot on the ground has a “first person view,” meaning the view is from the camera, not from the ground. It retails for about $1200.

2. HISY. This Bluetooth remote camera shutter works with your iPhone or tablet and allows the picture-taker to snap a photo from 30 to 90 feet away from the iPhone. It is the size of a ping-pong ball and can be attached to the headphone jack for easy carrying and access. The picture-taker can get into a group photo without rushing to beat a timer, and HISY makes a “selfie” easy to take without awkward physical contortions.

Kenwood

A Kenwood display shows HDMI or MHL reciever connection to smart phone. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

3. Kenwood’s eXcelon In-Dash Receiver. Auto makers are beginning to provide in new models full in-dash connectivity to and display of the driver’s smart phone and all of its apps, with touch-screen control. If you would like this now, but do not want to buy a new car, you can buy this receiver and have it installed, just like upgraded radios used to be installed. There are HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) receivers for iPhones and MHL (mobile high-definition link) receivers for Android-based smart phones. You can connect your smart phone wirelessly or use a short cable that also charges the phone and makes the connection more reliable. JVC, Clarion, and Dual offer similar receivers.

4. MakerBot Replicator 2. More than 25 exhibitors showed 3-D printing technology. For an enthusiast interested in 3-D printing, the MakerBot desktop printer is a good choice. It has a 410 cubic-inch build capacity and retails for under $3000, although you can find 3-D printers for $500. 3-D printing requires input of a computer-generated design and is very useful for prototype design. Next year there will be 3-D printers from large electronics manufacturers like HP.

5. iFi Systems’ SmartCharge Bulb. This recently announced LED light bulb will have lower power consumption and longer lifetime without the toxic mercury of CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. Plus, unique to the iFi smart blub is its patent-pending technology that will enable turning on the light using the wall switch, even though the power is off. The exhibitor rep said that the iFi smart bulb will cost about $30, maybe higher, and this price will discourage LED bulb use. The iFi smart bulb was developed with “crowdfunding” via Kickstarter.

6. LG’s 55” Class Ultra High Definition 4K Smart TV. This list has to contain a 4K TV because the picture clarity is amazing. Many other manufacturers also displayed 4K TVs (including Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, and RCA), and there are many 4K TVs larger than 55 inches. They are all pricey, however; LG’s 55” retails around $4000, give or take. You may want to wait until the price goes down.

Sony Vaio

Sony’s promotes a Vaio Flip PC in tablet configuration. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

7. Sony’s Vaio Flip PC. Yes, the laptop is alive and well, but it is changing. Sony’s Flip PC is a laptop (naming it a PC, go figure!) that provides the work productivity of a laptop and can be flipped so the screen lays flat on top to become a useable tablet. Regardless, it folds like a laptop for carrying and safekeeping. This laptop won an award at CES 2014 for innovation. Alas, it does not have a CD/DVD drive, as even the laptop world is abandoning these drives and moving into the cloud.

Innovative Technology

Innovative Technology displays music centers at CES 2014. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

8. Innovative Technology’s 6-in-1 Wooden Music Center. This is a last-century vintage wooden case that contains a 3-speed turntable, CD player and recorder, AM/FM radio, cassette player, and stereo speakers, with remote control. Its description may sound low-tech, but the unique feature is that it records vinyl records and cassettes to CD. There are still several generations around that know vinyl records and cassettes contain some good music worth preserving for later generations, and that requires going digital. This product does it, and it likely would look good somewhere in your home.

Panasonic V550

Panasonic’s V550 Camcorder stores video, copies to media, and transmits wirelessly. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

9. Panasonic’s V550 Series Camcorder. This camcorder provides three ways to handle your videos. You can save the video to the hard drive in the camcorder, or save it onto a SD card, or send it wirelessly to another device. It retails for $400, a reasonable price for ground-level, high quality video recording.

Sleep Number

Sleep Number promotes a bed that allows for headrest adjustment via smart phone. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

10. Sleep Number x12 Smart Bed. Well of course a bed is not a gadget, but this bed won an award at CES 2014 because it has some gadgetry designed for smart phones. Most people have heard of the Sleep Number bed and the separately adjustable sleep numbers that provide ideal comfort for each person. With SleepIQ technology, the x12 Smart Bed goes beyond sleeping comfort. It has sensors that monitor heart rate and sleeping habits (restfulness, leaving the bed), and it allows one sleeper to use a smart phone to adjust the head rest of the other sleeper in the hope that a change of position will end snoring. Much better than a midnight elbow in the ribs! The x12 is not yet on Sleep Number’s website, but will be eventually.

Frank Gorman is a partner at Gorman & Williams where he practices Intellectual Property law.

The Maryland appellate court cases that weren’t

court opinionsA visit to the “Appellate Opinions” page on the Maryland Judiciary website early Thursday afternoon did not show “2014″ available under filing year, meaning no opinions have been released in January by the Court of Appeals or Court of Special Appeals.

Or have there been?

When I selected “All” under filing year, a list of court opinions came up. At the top were two opinions dated Jan. 1, 2014:  “Navy v. Army” and “State v. State.”

I felt as if I had entered a code in a video game to reach some secret level. I would be scooping the world about a lawsuit between the Navy and the Army!

Alas, when I clicked on the links, there only was a nearly-blank page with “Test COSA Opinion” written in small type at the top.

A Judiciary spokesman told me Thursday afternoon that the items were posted before the holidays as tests of the system. By 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the case names had been changed to “Test.”

So we’ll have to wait at least another day for our first Judge Harrell footnote of 2014.

Trends observed at CES 2014

For the fourth consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams is guest blogging from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

No one would dispute that change accompanies new technology, but early detection and implementation of the changes that technology eventually demand are not easy. If you fail to detect and implement the required changes, it can be fatal to your business. At CES, this is called “disruptive innovation.”

CES 2014 is the forty-seventh gathering of persons and businesses involved in consumer electronics. One of the main reasons they have been coming over these years is to see the technology, compare it to their own, predict the coming changes, and decide what steps are needed to adjust and go forward successfully. Here are some consumer electronic trends resulting from new technologies, evident at CES 2014, which are already changing the industry.

1. Automakers Race into Connectivity

Driving is an entirely different experience from what is what just ten years ago. In-car navigation systems, videos in the back seat for kids, and cell phone calls through the “radio speakers” are now commonplace. The arrival of smart phones, however, has provided the impetus to dramatically change the opportunities and experience for the driver.

Automakers are equipping their new cars with Bluetooth and wireless high-speed communications capabilities and touch-screens that allow the driver to connect as she would with an iPhone, hands free. The primary design criteria for these in-car connectivity systems are minimal driver disruption.

The effects of these developments were evident at CES 2014. Chrysler, which was out front with its Uconnect system in 2010, is now providing voice texting/dictation and direct connections to 911 and roadside services. General Motors and Audi have teamed up with AT&T to provide drivers with AT&T’s built-in 4G LTE (long term evolution) wireless service; new Chevrolets are expected to be selling with this capability in the latter part of 2014. Ford displayed its proprietary in-dash wireless connection system called “Ford Sync TDK.” BMW permitted CES attendees to test drive its all-electric i3 vehicle, but this was more about performance than connectivity.

A favorite at CES 2014 is the Driverless Car Experience sponsored by Bosch and held on the lot outside the Convention Center. Sometimes called “autonomous/automated” driving, the experience includes parking assist, collision avoidance, and emergency braking. California, Nevada, and Florida have indicated a willingness to permit driverless cars.

2. TV’s and More TV’s – Yet Higher Resolution

Curved TVs

Curved televisions tower over a display at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, Nev. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

The biggest buzz this year, however, was about TV! The surprise is that TV’s continue to draw such overwhelming attention. CES 2014 has bigger TV’s up to 105 inches (8 feet and 9 inches), curved TV’s, and 4K Ultra HD TV’s.

The “4K” refers to resolution of the picture. It is the same resolution as “Ultra HD.” In past years, resolution was measured by the number of pixels in the vertical resolution. Now the manufacturers have switched to promoting horizontal resolution, and a 4K TV has a horizontal resolution of nearly 4000 pixels and a vertical resolution of 2000 pixels. The clarity of a 4K screen is impressive and is equal to cinema quality. LG, Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic are displaying KK TV’s.

The TV’s were also curved (as were some of the smart phones). Some TV’s have fixed curvatures; others are flexible in that the remote can activate the sides to pull inward about 15 degrees. The curved TV’s bring all the light and color toward the eyes of the viewer, but video gamers may give the most enthusiastic reception to curved screen because it enhances peripheral vision.

Combining all of these features is Samsung’s 105 inch, curved, 4K Ultra HD TV – the largest of its kind in the world. No one knows when the “push” (more than a trend now) for bigger and more resolution will end.

3. Electronic Sensors

Many of the products at CES 2014 incorporate sensor technology, which has been become one of the most important technologies in consumer electronics. Digital health and fitness products rely on sensors, and home security devices and even some TV controls rely on sensors.

A leading sensor technology is MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems), and a wide variety of MEMS have been developed. Advances in sensors technology were highlighted in the MotionTech zone.

The combination of improving sensors, internet connectivity, and wearable are resulting in a wide range of new products. Some fashionable tech gadgets have been worn on bodies over the years, but it is the advancements in sensor technology that is expanding the wearable device market.

4. Altering the Business Model

At CES 2014, you can see new technologies altering the business models of some very successful companies.

Microsoft once dominated operating systems and business software. Competition and technological changes in the internet, mobile communications and access, and delivery of content now have Microsoft moving rapidly to change. For example, Microsoft’s Xbox One now has apps that are used to connect viewers to video streaming and downloading services, such Hulu Plus, ESPN, Univision, and others. Microsoft is also moving into content creation with an agreement to work with Steven Spielberg on production of a TV series. (Microsoft’s Surface tablet was nowhere at CES 2014!)

Bosch, a Germany-based engineering and electronics company, was the world’s largest supplier of automotive components in 2011. Bosch may be changing this behind-the scenes approach to automotive electronics. This year was Bosch’s second appearance as an exhibitor at CES. With consumers looking for in-car systems that work with their smart phones, and automakers now developing in-car systems around smart phones, it makes sense for Bosch to be out front with the consumers who are demanding connectivity in the car.

Sleep number

Sleep Number’s booth marks the bed company’s first appearance at CES. (The Daily Record/Frank Gorman)

The New York Times, American Express, and Sleep Number Beds (making its first appearance) are other examples of exhibitors at CES 2014 promoting their businesses in ways you might not have expected.

5. Mobile Device Security

As businesses and individuals continue to do more on mobile devices, security becomes more important. At CES 2014, Samsung promoted its mobile device management (MDM) system called “Samsung KNOX,” a welcome but unusual step because mobile security has not been a front page concern for the consumer electronic industry.

KNOX is an Android-based collection of apps that can be installed by an IT administrator of a company or by an individual on her own mobile device. Presently, it is only offered for Samsung’s high-end mobile devices. It allows the user to separate (or to layer) personal data from business data. The business data can be in an encrypted state while it resides on the smart phone or tablet. It remains encrypted until it reaches the company’s server, where the data is un-encrypted. There are other security features as well, such as preventing the capture of a screen shot.

For sure, KNOX is not the only MDM that can provide an enterprise or an individual mobile security. Apple’s iOS is reportedly provides more security than Android. Microsoft offers MS-MDM, but most mobile devices do not use a Microsoft operating system. There are relatively unknown MDM providers that began providing MDM’s before Samsung, such as Divide/The Secure Workplace, Mformation, and Absolute Manage. Enthusiasm for MDM’s can wane in the face of the prices charged by Samsung and other providers for the system.

Samsung, however, has detected that the mobile landscape is changing and that the importance of mobile security may be increasing. Perhaps not a brilliant detection (just read about Target and other commercial security breaches), but Samsung’s promotion of mobile security may spur the entire industry.

Frank Gorman is a partner at Gorman & Williams where he practices Intellectual Property law.

2014 Consumer Electronics Show overview

For the fourth consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams is guest blogging from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Given the deep freeze back East, the first thing you notice upon arrival in Las Vegas are the near-60 degrees temperature and the palm trees. At the Las Vegas Convention Center, more than 150,000 persons are gathering this week for CES 2014, where you are quickly consumed by the vast array of exhibitors, technologies and products.

There are 3,200 exhibitors filling almost 2 million square feet of space at the Convention Center, the adjacent Las Vegas Hotel and the Venetian. Most of the major players in consumer electronic products and services are here – Samsung, LG, Intel, Sony, Verizon, DISH, Yahoo, Monster and automobile manufacturers, to name a few. Several majors are absent, notably Apple, Microsoft and AT&T. The bulk of the exhibitors are smaller developers, manufacturers and sellers of everything from batteries to electronic guitars, satellite systems to sensors. There is a lot to see.

Jefferson Graham, Tim Westergren and Tom Conrad

Jefferson Graham, left, of USA Today interviews Pandora founder Tim Westergren, center, and Chief Technology Officer Tom Conrad. (Photo by Frank Gorman)

CES 2014 is organized around 27 “techzones” that feature emerging products, services and companies centered in new technology markets. The new techzones this year are 3D Printing, Driverless Cars, FashionWare, Wrist Revolution and Academia TECH. Also, there are conference programs on a variety of topics including broadband, robotics, digital health and connecting to the cloud. With some advance planning, you can be sure to see and learn about the technologies and products of interest.

The keynote speakers on Tuesday were Kazuo Hirai of Sony, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo and John Chambers of Cisco. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will speak on economic growth and spurring innovation and research in the digital economy.

Most exciting was Tuesday’s presentation by Mayer and her team at Yahoo. She announced bold new plans for Yahoo, including a smart phone app that automatically brings up information tailored to the user and a twice-daily news feed (Yahoo News Digest) compiled by computer. Mayer is remaking Yahoo’s internet business and positioning Yahoo to compete with Google’s mobile search technology.

Finally, behind CES 2014 is the strength and scope of the Consumer Electronics Association located in Arlington, Virginia. Gary Shapiro has been president of the association for many years. The association promotes the consumer electronics industry, develops technical standards that insure products work and are compatible with other devices and takes on controversial issues like patent suits brought by “patent trolls.” The association has a staff of approximately 100 employees.

The next dispatch will address some of the market trends evident at CES 2014.

Frank Gorman is a partner at Gorman & Williams where he practices Intellectual Property law.

Appeals court gives red light to speed camera lawsuit

James Liskow

James Liskow (File photo)

Bowie lawyer James Liskow beat a speed camera ticket in Montgomery County three years ago based on what was essentially a typo.

In a nutshell, the law as written required police to include with the citation the county plan describing the location of the speed camera and a signed certificate showing the camera passed an annual inspection — “a phone book full of artifacts” as Liskow told me at the time.

A similar due process argument was made in a putative class-action lawsuit against the towns of Riverdale Park and Forest Heights, filed in April 2012 in U.S. District Court, with Liskow representing the plaintiffs. A federal judge granted a defense motion for summary judgment in November 2012, finding in part that he could not enforce state constitutional laws.

The plaintiffs appealed the decision. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel for 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the lower-court ruling, finding the plaintiffs’ due process rights had not been violated.

“Appellants fail to identify any element of the disputed procedures that equate to egregious official conduct unjustified by the state interest in traffic enforcement,” the opinion states. “…Any flaws in the citation or enforcement process could have been challenged in the state courts, and Appellants failed to do so.”

The appellate court similarly rejected an argument that electronic signatures on citations cannot be admitted as sworn testimony at trial because it is unknown whether the testimony is based on “personal knowledge, information and belief.”

Finally, the appellate panel found citations do not need to be sent via certified mail to satisfy due process.

“[N]othing presented to us indicates that the United States Postal Service delivers certified mail at a rate so superior to that of first-class mail that we should declare first-class mail not reasonably calculated to provide actual notice,” the opinion states.

Crime doesn’t pay but it might not harm your reelection chances

News came out Thursday that U.S. Rep.  Trey Radel, R-Fla., will be returning to Capitol Hill next week after a leave of absence. Radel, you may remember, pleaded guilty in November for possession of cocaine and is under investigation from by the House Ethics Committee for his drug use.

Trey Radel

Rep. Trey Radel

With Radel’s reelection prospects uncertain, potential challengers are weighing their options and opposition money begins to flow into southwest Florida.

Could Radel win reelection, though? It wouldn’t be the first time a politician in trouble with the law was kept in office. (A certain politician in Toronto will be testing this theory in October, too.) Which brings us to this gem of a footnote brought to my attention by my former TDR colleague, Andy Marso, on Twitter.

It concerns an appeal by Percy Z. Giles, a longtime Chicago alderman who was sentenced to more than three years in jail in 2001 for racketeering and mail fraud, among other charges.

Giles won a special election for his seat in 1986 and won four-year terms in 1987, 1991, 1995 and 1999, according to an opinion by 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals written by the late Judge Terence T. Evans. Giles prevailed in the ’99 election “despite the fact he was under the dark cloud of the indictment in this case,” Evans wrote, prompting the judge to include the following footnote:

In the old days, an indictment charging 13 felonies would have been the kiss of death for a politician. Apparently that is no longer the case.

The appellate court upheld Giles’ conviction.

(Evans, it should also be noted, was no stranger to a good footnote.)

T-shirt satirist, NSA nearing settlement?

NSA-Listens-Peeping_web-300x184

Dan McCall’s parody of the National Security Agency seal, above, was pulled off a printer’s website due to a cease-and-desist letter it received from the agency. (Courtesy of Paul Alan Levy)

Dan McCall soon might not have reason to sell his “Censored by the NSA” and “Censored by the DHS” T-shirts anymore.

Back in October, McCall, a Minnesota activist, sued the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security for violating his First Amendment rights when they issued cease-and-desist letters against his merchandise.

McCall is the proprietor of LibertyManiacs.com, which sells T-shirts, mugs and posters, many with satirical images he creates. One of his creations, from earlier this year, placed a slogan below the NSA’s official seal: “The only part of the government that actually listens.”

Now, both sides “are currently in discussion to resolve the case,” according to a court filing Friday by the government agencies. The agencies have asked for the deadline to respond to the complaint be moved to the middle of February. McCall’s lawyer agreed Tuesday to extend the deadline, according to the filing.

The agencies’ response was supposed to be due Jan. 6.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Marvin J. Garbis had not made a decision on the motion as of Friday afternoon.

The end of law libraries?

Almost three years ago, I wrote about the evolution of law libraries. Many people I spoke with believed the law library would never go away, although the physical space might shrink as more and more research is done online.

Kresge Law Library, University of Notre DameBut a New York law professor believes law school libraries, at least, are going the way of the dodo.

“Legal education in the United States is about to undergo a long-term contraction, and law libraries will be among the first to go,” writes James G. Milles of SUNY Buffalo Law School in a paper published last week.

Milles attributes the decline of law school libraries to “the dual crises facing legal education”: the economic crisis affecting the job market and “crisis of confidence in the ability of law schools to meet the needs of lawyers.”

Milles does not believe libraries will disappear overnight but instead will erode over time as law schools continue to face budget issues.

What do you think—will future law school students have a library to visit?

(HT: The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog)