News Column

Patent Issued for Arrangement for Synchronizing Media Files with Portable Devices

September 11, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventors Kiilerich, Dennis (Seattle, WA); Silverman, Andrew L. (Redmond, WA), filed on February 15, 2008, was published online on August 26, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8818941, is Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Current systems and methods that perform synchronization of content items between computers and portable storage or playback devices have certain disadvantages. For example, one difficulty is the length of the synchronization procedure. Synchronization procedures may be delayed, e.g., by bandwidth limitations for the input/output process as determined by the USB or other connection protocol. A similar limitation pertains to the processor speed. For example, if a file requires conversion before being transferred from a computer to a portable player, the conversion slows and/or delays the synchronization process considerably. A related limitation concerns when a file requires download to a local personal computer prior to synchronization on a device, which is often the case with digital music listed in a local catalog but actually stored on an internet web store for download on-demand. The download requires completion before the file can be transferred.

"Another type of limitation is seen when a user's media content library exceeds the storage capacity of the portable player. Current systems for choosing which items to synchronize, and which to avoid, including smart playlists (i.e., rule-based selection mechanisms like 'All songs in my library where genre does not equal `Christmas`'), are generally complicated and confusing to many users.

"A further type of limitation relates to the cumbersome nature of current synchronization procedures, i.e., a user must indicate or build a list of desired changes, e.g., items to synchronize, and then must start the procedure. As such procedures only commence upon user command, synchronization procedures are limited to occurring only at user-specified times or at the time of initial device connection. Some systems have allowed for a degree of spontaneous synchronization--synchronization may begin for some content types as soon as new content requiring synchronization is detected. In these systems, however, any currently-running synchronization must be completed or aborted before initiating a new synchronization, resulting in a less-than-optimum method.

"Yet another type of limitation relates to the synchronization process itself: users generally need to have content items to be synchronized stored on their computer in some local location. Thus, content items generally occupy valuable storage space on a user system."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The arrangement improves the efficiency of the synchronization process. The same ensures that synchronizations of large quantities of content can be completed with a minimum of delay. This is accomplished in various ways. One way is to prioritize the various tasks that are to be performed prior to synchronization. Another way is to initiate dependent tasks. Yet another way is to allow other content to synchronize in the meantime, increasing the efficiency of the limited transmission bandwidth.

"In another example, a method is provided which allows a user to select content items for synchronization in simple and intuitive ways, using natural organizational units of given types of media, here termed 'containers'.

"In another example, a method is provided which performs automatic or 'live' synchronization, in which a user's library is continually monitored for changes to the set of content the user has indicated should be synchronized, e.g., containers. Synchronization with the portable device then occurs immediately, and continuously, until the synchronization engine determines that there are no items left to be synchronized. If a synchronization is already in-process, any new synchronization tasks may be added to, or removed from, the currently-synchronizing work flow, obviating the need for a separate synchronization process to commence.

"In another example, a method is provided that allows content to be placed on a portable player without the intermediate step of having to place content (and occupy storage space within) a user media content library, such as on a user's personal computer. For example, using this arrangement, a user may place a CD of music onto a portable player without having to store the 'ripped' music on the user's computer, which saves memory or hard disk space.

"This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form. The concepts are further described in the Detailed Description section. Elements or steps other than those described in this Summary are possible, and no element or step is necessarily required. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended for use as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter. The claimed subject matter is not limited to implementations that solve any or all disadvantages noted in any part of this disclosure."

For more information, see this patent: Kiilerich, Dennis; Silverman, Andrew L.. Arrangement for Synchronizing Media Files with Portable Devices. U.S. Patent Number 8818941, filed February 15, 2008, and published online on August 26, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Microsoft Corporation.

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Source: Computer Weekly News

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