If you haven't heard of a Triple Play
yet -- you know, where some service provider tries to shove TV, internet and phone service onto one pretty little contract for supposed cost savings and convenience to you -- then we applaud you for your apparent skill at avoiding the incessant advertising of such services from the major media companies. Unfortunately, it seems the US Patent Office
possesses just such a skill, since they've granted a patent to Cisco Technology
for the concept of "providing integrated voice, video, and data content in an integrated service." Now, Cisco did apply for this patent way back in 2000, before the idea had quite gotten so pervasive, but we're still a bit miffed that something this common-sensical can be patented at all. No word yet on what Cisco plans to do with the patent, but there are a whole lot of "infringing" services out there that they could potentially go after if the mood strikes. Luckily, Cisco has some pretty neat ideas of their own for a Triple Play network offering listed in the patent, so we'll remain cautiously optimistic -- safe underground, of course, in our tin-foil shielded bunker.