Trending February 2024 # Eu Market Tests Settlement Proposed By Apple And Publishers In Ebook Price Fixing Case # Suggested March 2024 # Top 4 Popular

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Following a federal judge’s decision to approve settlements with three publishers and the Federal Communications Commission in the United States, the Apple/Amazon eBook price-fixing case is taking a different turn in the European Union with officials prepared to market test settlements put forward by Apple and the majority of publishers involved. In the EU, Apple appears to be proposing a settlement similar to the one it is fighting in the U.S. (and expected to appeal), allowing retailers to freely set prices for the next two years. The EU’s European Commission issued a press release earlier today (via Cnet):

Antitrust: Commission market tests commitments proposed by Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette, Holtzbrinck and Apple for the sale of e-books

The Commission considers at this stage that these companies may have breached EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive practices by jointly switching the sale of e-books from a wholesale model to agency contracts containing the same key terms (in particular an unusual so-called “Most Favoured Nation” – MFN – clause for retail prices). The agency model allows more control by publishers over retail prices. The Commission has concerns that this switch may have been the result of collusion between competing publishers, with the help of Apple, and may have aimed at raising retail prices of e-books in the EEA or preventing the emergence of lower prices.

In the proposed commitments, the five companies offer to terminate existing agency agreements and refrain from adopting price MFN clauses for five years. In case any of the four publishers would enter into new agency agreements, retailers would be free to set the retail price of e-books during a two-year period, provided the aggregate value of price discounts granted by retailers does not exceed the total annual amount of the commissions that the retailer receives from the publisher.

Background

Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement prohibit agreements and concerted practices which may affect trade and prevent or restrict competition.

After unannounced inspections in March 2011 (see MEMO/11/126), the Commission opened proceedings in December 2011 against Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette, Holtzbrinck, Penguin and Apple (see IP/11/1509). Following discussions with the Commission, four of these publishers and Apple offered commitments with a view to seeking an early resolution of the case. Penguin (Pearson group, United Kingdom) has not offered any commitments and the investigation into their conduct is on-going.

If the market test indicates that the commitments are a satisfactory solution to the Commission’s competition concerns, the Commission may adopt a decision under Article 9 of the EU’s antitrust Regulation 1/2003, to make them legally binding on Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette, Holtzbrinck and Apple. Such an Article 9 decision does not conclude that there is an infringement of EU antitrust rules but legally binds the companies concerned to respect the commitments offered. If a company breaks such commitments, the Commission can impose a fine of up to 10% of its annual worldwide turnover, without having to find an infringement of the antitrust rules.

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Ftc And Google Close To Reaching Patent Case Settlement

It’s being reported that Google is close to reaching a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding its long running anti-trust investigation.

Google Agrees To Compromise

Regarding the patent issue, Google may well have decided to compromise with the FTC after realizing that it doesn’t have much of a case to put forward any. The crux of the matter is that Google holds what are known as ‘standard essential patents’, used by the software industry to protect technical standards’ technology. One example of this would be a patent that allows one wireless phone brand to connect to another, says Reuters.

Whilst Google has used standard essential patents in a number of international legal disputes with its rivals, it’s unlikely that it will be able to do so at home, following a federal judge’s ruling that they cannot be used to win injunctions. This comes after previous rulings from FTC commissioners that using such patents could also be considered anti-competitive.

As such, Google is now thought to be nearing a deal in which it will only request an injunction against companies using its patents if they refuse to license them. Reuters says that such a deal could be concluded as early as this week.

No Resolution in Search Bias Case

How the more pertinent aspect of Google’s battle with the FTC will be resolved remains anybody’s guess meanwhile. Google has been accused of tweaking its search engine so that it displays results from its own websites and products ahead of rival companies in a variety of lucrative niches, a practice that numerous travel and shopping websites have described as unfair.

One possible course of action by the FTC might be to just dump the problem in the hands of the European Commission, which has mounted its own investigation into Google’s alleged unfair practices. Separately, Reuters claims that a number of Google’s competitors ready to take the case to the US Justice Department should any decision go against them.

Apple And Fellow Tech Titans Expand Fight Against Patent Trolls To Eu

Apple and more than a dozen other titans of technology have written to European Union officials, expressing concern that a unified patent court system could encourage patent trolls to expand their lawsuits overseas.

Apple and more than a dozen other titans of technology have written to European Union officials, expressing concern that a unified patent court system could encourage patent trolls to expand their lawsuits overseas.

New rules now being developed could create “significant opportunities for abuse” allowing patent owners to “extract substantial royalties,” according to the letter obtained by the New York Times.

Starting in 2024 trolls could take infringement cases to non-member countries or nations without much experience, creating a European version of the Eastern District of Texas. Courts in that U.S. district are notorious for rulings favorable to companies suing tech firms, according to the letter…

After looking at the EU’s plans “companies now fear that the new system could be vulnerable to what they call patent assertion entities, less politely known as patent trolls, which make a business of filing patent-infringement lawsuits,” reports the New York Times.

The EU’s proposal would create a unified patent court, replacing the current patchwork quilt of countries all with differing levels of experience handling patent-infringement claims.

Along with Apple (the favorite target of patent trolls), Google, Samsung, BlackBerry, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Intel, Yahoo and Cisco signed the letter of concern sent Thursday. European firms such as Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia also signed, according to the report.

Ironies abound on both sides.

Google, which signed the letter warning of European patent abuse, recently found its Motorola Mobility the first convicted patent troll. The Times also notes than many of the people helping the EU draft the unified patent court “work for law practices or lobbying firms” which count as clients the signatories of today’s letter.

Spain and Poland are also raising objections, while Italy has some reservations about the proposal.

Spain is suing the EU over the plan, saying the Spanish language is not among those within the court system. Poland believes the proposal could hurt its economy, while Italy is unsure about so-called pan-European patents. At least 13 of the 25 EU member states must approve the court proposal for it to go into effect.

Chief among the worries by U.S. companies is that patent trolls could shop for a European country either with little experience handling patent issues or a nation that has not signed onto the unified court plan.

Another problem is the new system would split the question of whether infringement occurred from consideration of if the patent is even valid. While the procedure is common in German courts, the division on questions opens up “significant opportunities for abuse,” the letter writers explain.

In 2012 signatory Microsoft moved operations from Germany to the Netherlands due to what it said was a patent lawsuit filed by Motorola Mobility in Germany. Germany’s Deutsche Telekom was forced to pay a patent-infringement settlement to IPNav, which owns more than 1,000 patents, according to the Times.

Over the last half-decade, IPNav has sued over 1,600 U.S.-based companies, a record. Defendants have included Google, Adobe and Hitachi.

IPNav has written that the proposed change in how Europe handles patent challenges is “a great benefit to innovators” and the new setup “is going to cut the cost of litigation down significantly.”

The proposed change in Europe comes as patent trolls become a front-burner topic in the U.S. The FTC has launched an investigation into patent-infringement claims as the Obama administration orders agencies such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office take a closer look at patent applications and their owners.

Apple Responds To Questions About San Bernardino Case

Apple responds to questions about San Bernardino case

What do you do when you’re at work, and your boss asks you to do something that you find to be unethical? Maybe you go over his head, and talk with his boss, or even someone in HR. But what happens when the US government gives you an order to do something like that? If you’re Apple, you can’t really go over the government’s head. But you can go to the people.

You probably already know that last week, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wrote a letter to customers, explaining what the government had asked them to do. The letter also outlined the company’s stance on encryption, and data security. The long and short of it was that the company wanted to protect the data of their customers, and believed that by complying with the government’s order, they would be compromising the security of their customers.

Since that letter was published last Tuesday, quite a bit has happened. One of the biggest things is that it was discovered that FBI had ordered that the iCloud password for the phone had been reset. This is an important piece of information, because this was actually the worst thing that they could possibly do.

When the court order to Apple first came out, it was thought that there was still a way to retrieve the information. All that needed to be done was to connect the device to a trusted network, and let it backup to the cloud. Apple has already provided previous iCloud backups of the device to the FBI. However, it had been some time since the phone was last backed up. By letting it back up to the cloud, Apple would have been able to provide the FBI with everything they wanted/needed.

There were some other methods that also would have been useful in gaining access to the device’s information. Unfortunately, they all required that the iCloud password not be reset. By resetting that password, the device was cut off from all of Apple’s services, until it could be entered. And you can’t enter that password until you’ve already unlocked the phone.

So the FBI shot themselves in the foot as soon as the investigation started. They made a critical error, and in order to fix it, they are attempting to strong-arm Apple into creating an entirely new operating system for their phones, which will allow the government to crack open any locked iPhone with relative ease.

Some conspiracy theorists might say that the FBI did this on purpose. After all, they would need to ensure that they had no other options for getting inside of the terrorist’s phone. And since terrorism sells, it’s the perfect way to obtain a tool that will give them a way to access every iPhone that comes into their possession.

The conspiracy theory might not be as far-fetched as some I’ve heard, but it’s more likely that someone was just following a procedure that involved resetting passwords. After all, what might be worst than someone logging in and remotely wiping the phone? Regardless of the motive, they have a brick in their possession, and they want Apple to write a completely new version of iOS that will allow them to brute force the passcode, and Apple still wants nothing to do with the idea.

Why John McAfee’s offer to unlock San Bernardino iPhone makes sense

Today, Apple has decided to continue their open dialogue with the public. Rather than simply fighting the FBI in court, they’re hoping to inform the general public on the situation. This time, they have decided to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions. Essentially, they wrote an FAQ for the San Bernardino case.

They start off the letter by addressing exactly what the government wants them to do, and why they object to it. The main point is that by complying with the order, they believe they will compromise the security of their customers’ data. Doing so will also set a dangerous precedent, where security would be sacrificed in the name of law enforcement. This is something we’ve seen in other areas of life in a post-9/11 world. So this isn’t a far-fetched idea in any way.

They also go on to say that they do possess the technical ability to create the new operating system that the government wants. They’re just choosing not to, because they believe it to be too dangerous. It’s dangerous because of the precedent that it could set, but it’s also dangerous because the newly-created software could potentially fall into the wrong hands. They equated it to creating a master key that could open hundreds of millions of locks.

They also made a very good point about cybersecurity, by citing the recent attacks on the IRS systems. After all, if those systems can be breached, who’s to say that the systems protecting a copy of this new iOS couldn’t also be breached? The only way for Apple to keep this software out of the wrong hands is simply to not make it in the first place.

Perhaps the most interesting piece of information from the FAQ is that Apple has complied with government orders to open up phones in the past. That’s right, they have employed methods that unlocked and exposed all of the information on an iPhone without needing the passcode.

The difference between those other cases and this one is that all of the phones accessed in this manner were running older versions of the iOS software. Apple can and will open up a phone for the government when ordered, as long as it isn’t running iOS 8.0 or higher. With the newer versions, they utilized passcode-based encryption, which prevented anyone, themselves included, from accessing the information contained within. They specifically wanted to ensure that only someone that has the passcode could open the phone and see the data.

The whole FAQ is interesting and worth reading. You can see it here. This case is far from over, and we’ll be keeping an eye on it, and reporting on it as new information becomes available.

Case Styles In Coding (Camelcase, Snake_Case, And More)

Case Styles in Programming

Developing software at scale requires you to write code that is easy to manage. One of the main ways to enforce manageable code is by writing code that is easy to read. The easiest way to write readable code is by naming objects logically and carefully.

For example, you don’t want to use names like this:

myfavcol = "Blue" alcons = 10

Instead, you should use complete words for easier understandability.

myfavoritecolor = "Blue" allowedconnections = 10

But this gives rise to a new problem. Long multi-word literals look messy too. In some cases, the above object names can look overwhelming and be less readable. This all happens because programming languages don’t let you use blank spaces when naming objects. To overcome this issue, you can apply a case style for compound words to make them more readable.

In programming, the most common case styles are:

Camel case. In the camel case, compound words start with a capital first letter. Only the first word in the chain starts with a small first letter. This makes the multi-word names easier to read.

Snake case. In the snake case, compound words are separated by underscores. This adds a clear separator between words to make names more readable.

Pascal case. In the Pascal case, compound words start with a capital first letter. Unlike in the camel case, the first word also starts with a capital letter.

# Camel case myFavoriteColor = "Blue" allowedConnections = 10 # Snake case my_favorite_color = "Blue" allowed_connections = 10 # Pascal case MyFavoriteColor = "Blue" AllowedConnections = 10

Also, in web development, URLs and path names commonly use kebab case, in which words are separated by dashes.

Why Use a Case Style?

Notice that using a particular case style is not mandatory. Your program code runs whether you use case styles or not. But if you choose to use a case style, you should stick with it throughout the project.

With case styles, you can make your code more readable and concise. This is because you are not allowed to use blank spaces when naming objects in your code. So instead of using spaces, you can visually separate words from one another by using different case styles, such as camel case or snake case.

4 Popular Case Styles in Programming

Let’s take a more detailed look at the 4 popular case styles in programming.

Camel case

Snake case

Pascal case

Kebab case

Besides, you’ll see some examples and common use cases for these case styles.

1. Camel Case (camelCase)

In the camel case, each compound word starts with a capital letter—except for the very first letter of the first word.

Camel case is one of the most commonly used naming conventions in coding. In the camel case, compound words start with a capital letter. This helps visually differentiate words from one another when there are many words.

Notice that in the camel case, the first letter of the very first word starts with a lowercase letter.

Common Use Cases

Many programming languages use camel case to declare variables.

Let’s take a look at a Python example:

myAccountBalance = 100 distanceToMoon = 3.844e8 2. Pascal Case (PascalCase)

In the Pascal case, each compound word starts with a capital letter.

Pascal case is sometimes called the upper camel case. The only difference between the Pascal case and the camel case is that the very first letter is also capitalized in the Pascal case.

In other words, in the Pascal case, all compound words start with a capital letter. This helps distinguish words from one another in name literals of multiple words.

Common Use Cases

Pascal case originates from the Pascal programming language. But it has spread out to be a popular naming convention in other programming languages too.

The most common use case for the pascal case is for naming classes.

For example:

class MainViewController: UIViewController { ... } 3. Snake Case (snake_case)

In the snake case, words are separated by underscores.

Snake case is a case style where each compound word is separated by an underscore. This greatly improves the readability of values with long multi-word names.

Common Use Cases

Snake case is a really common naming convention in Python programming language.

my_age = 26 date_today = "2024-09-15"

It’s also common to see database fields labeled with snake-cased names.

As an example:

{ first_seen: "2024-07-02", last_modified: "2024-09-15" }

Sometimes, when declaring constant values, you might use capitalized snake case where each letter is capitalized.

DISTANCE_TO_MOON = 3.884e8

This variation of snake case is sometimes called the macro case or screaming snake case. But more often than not developers call it the capital snake case or just the snake case.

4. Kebab Case (kebab-case)

In the kebab case, words are separated by a dash.

In the kebab case, you separate words with a dash. This is reminiscent of the snake case where you separate words with an underscore.

But the kebab case is not commonly used in programming languages. This is because your typical coding language doesn’t allow adding dashes between words that make up the names of the objects.

Common Use Cases

You typically use a kebab case when creating URLs.

For example:

In URLs, you typically don’t see capital letters. This is because the URLs shouldn’t look like they are yelling at you. Thus, the Pascal case and camel case are not good options for visually separating compound words in a URL slug. This is why the kebab case is commonly used. Instead of capitalizing the letters, they are separated by dashes.

What Is the Best Case Style?

When it comes to case styles, there is no agreed answer as to what is the best one for them. Each case style serves the same purpose—to improve the readability of compound words.

To choose a case style, you need to keep in mind:

Language-specific best practices.

Team-level conventions.

Your personal preferences.

In many languages, the case style you “should” use depends on the type of object you are naming. It’s typical to name variables, functions, and class definitions all using different case styles!

Let me show you a demonstrative example in Swift, the iOS development language.

Example: Case Styles in Swift

In Swift, you commonly see the following case styling best practices in use:

Name variables, constants, functions, and methods using camel case.

Name class definitions using the Pascal case.

class MainViewController { ... } let allowedConnections = 10 var numberOfStudents = 100

Also, sometimes you see developers naming constants in snake case with all characters in upper case.

let ALLOWED_CONNECTIONS = 10 Mind Your Team Preferences

Using a “wrong” case style convention doesn’t crash your code. But you need to mind your teammates when writing code. After all, the case style must be consistent across the different code files of the project.

If (and when) your development team has specified team-specific case-styling guidelines, you should follow them. Usually, these best practices follow language-specific conventions. But this is not always the case. For example, if you are part of the math-heavy code base, you will probably use snake cases more often than not.

Wrap Up

Today you learned about the case styles of coding languages.

The case styles are used to make code more readable and understandable. The reason why case styles are needed is that you cannot use blank spaces when separating words in object names. To help make the distinction between words, case styles, such as the camel case can help.

In coding, there are three case styles that you see frequently:

Camel case

Snake case

Pascal case

In web development, you see paths and URLs using the kebab case. In the kebab case, compound words are separated by dashes.

There is no right or wrong case style. To choose the case style, check the language-specific best practices and common conventions. Also, don’t forget to check your team-specific guidelines if you are coding in a team.

Thanks for reading. Happy coding!

Read Also

Apple Watch Ultra: Release Date, Price & Features

The case is made from titanium and it rises up to surround the completely flat screen, which is made from sapphire crystal (as found on iPhone cameras). This should help to protect the Watch Ultra’s screen from damage while you’re rock climbing.

The display, which measures 49mm across (1.93 inches) is twice as bright as any previous Apple wearable, capable of 2000 nits. That should help you see which direction to go even in the brightest condition.

Plus, there’s a new orange button – the action button. This does (almost) whatever you want it to. For example, you can press it to drop a waypoint along your route, so you can find your way back later.

Apple

There’s a dual-frequency GPS which supports L1 and L5 frequencies. Along with new positioning algorithms, it’s the most accurate GPS in an Apple Watch yet. But should you still get lost or run into serious trouble, there’s an 86dB siren that can alert rescue teams to your position.

The crown and side button have been re-designed: they’re more prominent and can be used while wearing gloves. And talking of gloves, the Ultra is tested to work in temperatures from  -4° F (-20° C) to 131° F (55° C). It’s also certified to military-spec standards for things such as low pressure (altitude), temperature shock, contamination by fluids, humidity, sand and dust, freeze/thaw, freezing rain, plus shock and vibration.

Apple

Apple has added a second speaker for louder sound, and there are three microphones so those you call can better hear you.

Call you can, because all Ultras have built-in cellular connectivity. However, the rumoured satellite comms aren’t present, so you’ll still need to be close enough to civilisation to get a phone signal.

One rumour that turned out to be true is that the Ultra has a larger battery than a standard Apple Watch which can provide up to 36 hours of ‘normal’ use. But if you won’t be able to charge it for longer than that, there’s a power-saving mode which extends that up to 60 hours at the cost of lower-frequency GPS updates and heart rate readings.

Apple

Apple says you can wear your Watch Ultra for “recreational diving”, which means up to 40m / 130 feet. It also has a new depth gauge which works with a new Depth app to provide the current depth, water temperature, duration under water and the maximum depth reached.

It also has all the usual Apple Watch features including ECG and blood oxygen monitoring, and the new body temperature sensor that’s in the Series 8 which is designed to more accurately track women’s cycles, as well as the motion sensors for detecting when you’ve been involved in a car crash (and automatically calls the emergency services for you). Processing power comes from the same chip in the Series 8, too.

Apple

The Watch Ultra runs watchOS 9, which includes a redesigned compass app that has three views. One is a hybrid that shows an analogue and digital compass, but another displays your latitude, longitude, elevation and incline, while the third is an ‘orienteering view’ that displays waypoints and Backtrack.

The latter uses GPS to trace your route to the current position, so you can go back the way you came if you become disoriented.

23 September 2023

You can buy Apple Watch Ultra from Apple now, following general release on 23 September. We also have a full article on where to buy the Apple Watch Ultra if you’re tempted.

It’s available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, the UAE, the UK, the US and 40 other countries.

In the US it’s $799, but UK buyers will pay £849.

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