* LawLawLaw 2006-02-17

Law, Baseball, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

* Introduction Stuff

This newsletter is Erik’s opinion, not the opinion of Clock Tower Law Group. It is posted on my weblog, which is my opinion, not the opinion of Clock Tower Law Group. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

* Client Stuff

This is the first of what I hope will be an ongoing feature: blogging about clients of Clock Tower Law Group, with their permission. I have created a new “Clients” category for this purpose. I’m also going to scour my archives and tag other articles in which I have mentioned current or former clients. Blogging about one’s clients can be tricky business. Suffice it to say that I’ll not be disclosing any confidential information. In every piece, I’ll include this lovely disclaimer: “In the spirit of full disclosure, [CLIENT] is/was a client of Clock Tower Law Group and is mentioned and/or linked in this article.” I’m using “is/was” because things change, but archives on this website don’t. So here goes.

* Erik Blogs About Clients: 90 Days of BzzAgent Corporate Transparency (2006-02-07)
BzzAgent is a pioneering word-of-mouth marketing company. John Butman and BzzAgent founder and president David Balter teamed up to write the book “Grapevine : The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing” <http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591841100/>, and now they are teaming up to blog about BzzAgent for 90 days. I have threatened to show up at the BzzAgent office just to try to get a mention in the blog. Here’s how David Balter pitched the idea to John Butman: “The company just got about $15 million in funding [true]. I want to have you document the company for 3 months – in writing. To the world. We’ll set it up as a blog – people can respond to the daily postings. You hang out in the office. Write about the real internal workings. What’s really happening. It’s like a reality show. But written. Cheap to produce. Fun to watch.” This should be a fascinating experiment.

* Law Stuff

* Support The Open Document Format And Stop Bad Laws In Massachusetts
The Software & Information Industry Association is supporting a letter-writing campaign to support the Open Document Format. If Massachusetts chooses to support the Open Document Format, then it would allow Sun’s StarOffice and its sister project OpenOffice.org to compete on a level playing field with the likes of Microsoft Office.

* Concerns About Third Parties Hosting Your Data (2005-10-19)
I barely trust my ISP to host my (POP-based) email before I download it, and I am probably – strike that, definitely – more paranoid than most about putting my trust in third-party providers. As such, I generally avoid outsourcing and hosted applications. This article addresses some of the same concerns. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan and user of Gmail, Flickr, Backpack, Writeboard and del.icio.us …. but what if Gmail goes down, or Google decides to stop being ‘not evil’? …. Does scattering your personal information across this new breed of Web 2.0 application[s] make you nervous?”

* Esquivalience Copyright Trap (2005-09-06)
“The most recent edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) defines esquivalience as ‘the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities.’ However, ‘esquivalience’ isn’t a real word. It’s a copyright trap, placed in the dictionary so that the editors can know when others are stealing their work.”

* Merriam-Webster’s Open Dictionary (2006-01-06)
In related news, Merriam-Webster’s Open Dictionary allows users to 1) submit and share entries that aren’t already in their Online Dictionary, and 2) browse entries submitted by other members of the Merriam-Webster Online community. I checked for ‘esquivalience’ but it’s not there (yet).

* Rock ‘n’ Roll Stuff

The big news since the last issue of LawLawLaw is Sony’s ill-conceived attempt to install spyware-like software on PCs via its audio CDs, downplaying its significance, and delaying implementing meaningful remedies. Meanwhile, creative uses of Apple’s (DRM-encumbered) iTunes continues (Stanford, iPlayMusic). Maybe users don’t mind DRM if companies are at least honest about it. I have friends who own iPods who are boycotting all Sony products.

* Sony Rootkit Debacle Starts: Real Story of the [Sony] Rogue Rootkit (2005-11-17)

* Sony Rootkit Debacle Continues: Sony’s 52 Infected CDs (2005-11-17)
“Sony BMG has released list of all 52 CD titles that have used the XCP software.”

* Sony Rootkit Debacle Continues: Open Mouth, Insert Foot (2005-11-23)
When a Sony executive said, “Most people don’t even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?” some creative folks memorialized the corporate cluelessness on t-shirts.

* Sony Rootkit Debacle Post-Mortem: Sony CD DRM Paper Released (2006-02-14)
“Today [J. Alex Halderman and Edward W. Felten] released [a] paper about the Sony CD DRM episode. This is the full, extended version of the paper, with a bunch of new material that hasn’t been published or posted before.”

* Listen To Stanford With iTunes (2005-10-26)
“Stanford University is making lectures, music and sports audio content available for free with iTunes.”

* Learn Guitar With Your iPod (2006-02-09)
“iPlayMusic is offering video podcasts of 35 free guitar lessons for your iPod.”

* Baseball Stuff

I’m glad that Theo Epstein is back as GM of the Red Sox. Has anyone noticed that there has been little to no mention of the terms of his contract? Perhaps that’s why he left and then came back – to keep this stuff private. I’m also glad that the Sox now have a center fielder (Coco Crisp) and a shortstop (Alex Gonzalez). If all position players stay healthy, if all starting pitchers stay healthy, if all players play at or near their career best levels, and if a few bounces and umpire calls go our way, then it could be a great year for the Red Sox! Pitchers and catchers report to spring training tomorrow, after which I’ll likely have a lot more to say about baseball.

* Cool, Fun, and Funny Stuff

* Bootstrapping Your Own Business And Why You Should Buy Plants (2005-10-24)
D. Keith Robinson has some good advice for entrepreneurs who want to start their own business without outside capital. Robins suggests “Have some money in the bank.” and “Don’t avoid risk.” I would add “Get plants.” to that list. Why? Because the going will be slow, very slow, when you are starting a new business. Some days, you will need a reason to go to the office. (By the way, get an office, make it real. It’s too easy to quit if you’re operating out of your house.) If you have plants, they will need water, which will force you to go to the office. Your plants, and your business, will thank you.

* Download Of The Day: Mozilla Firefox 1.5 (2005-11-30)
“Now available for download, newest release version 1.5 of the Mozilla Firefox web browser easily reorders tabs and offers one-step private data-clearing among other improvements.”

* Secure Your Saved Passwords In Firefox (2006-02-10)
“This master password is a SINGLE password that will unlock the rest of your saved passwords from prying eyes.”

* Firefox Extensions (2006-02-17)
Mozilla Firefox is definitely a cool browser. But did you know about Firefox Extensions? Mini-programs (AKA plugins) that add functionality to Firefox. My favorites are Copy URL + 1.3.2, Linky 2.7.1, and Restart Firefox 0.3.

* OpenOffice 2 Released (2005-10-21)
“OpenOffice, the open source competitor to Microsoft Office, released version 2.0 today.”

* Free OpenOffice Training Videos (2005-11-14)
“NewsForge is hosting free training videos designed to help aid users in the migration from Microsoft Office to the free OpenOffice suite.”

* Find Phone Numbers For Free (2005-10-19)
Instead of calling 411, which can cost a lot of money (especially from a cell phone), call 1-800-FREE-411, listen to some ads for competitors of the company you’re trying to call, and get the phone number you are seeking for free.

* Bypass Mandatory Registration With BugMeNot (2005-10-27)
“Have you ever been sent a newspaper article link by e-mail, but when you got there you were prompted to register your information first? BugMeNot … is a communal registration sharing service. Enter the URL of the site you want to read and BugMeNot will suggest an already existing account name and password for you to use.”

* Cartoon Licensing At CartoonStock (2005-11-15)
“Similar to The New Yorker’s Cartoonbank.com, CartoonStock is another service where you can license cartoons.”

* This Week In Unnecessary Censorship (2006-02-17)
“The Super Bowl Edition. [DELETED] fun at the FCC’s expense.” This is one of the funniest videos I’ve seen in a long time. Why is the Cookie Monster being censored?

* Funny Monkey Ads From The Super Bowl (2006-02-04)
Here’s where you can view all of those funny CareerBuilder.com ads from the Super Bowl.


[In the spirit of full disclosure, BzzAgent Inc. is/was a client of Clock Tower Law Group and is mentioned and/or linked in this article.]

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