* LawLawLaw 2006-05-23

Technology, 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. Newsletter headings are used for convenience only and should not be used to interpret the meaning of this newsletter. In particular, Client Stuff may have some law stuff, technology stuff, baseball stuff, rock ‘n’ roll stuff, and/or cool stuff in it; Law Stuff may have some client stuff, technology stuff, baseball stuff, rock ‘n’ roll stuff, and/or cool stuff in it; Technology Stuff may have some client stuff, law stuff, baseball stuff, rock ‘n’ roll stuff, and/or cool stuff in it; Baseball Stuff may have some client stuff, law stuff, technology stuff, rock ‘n’ roll stuff, and/or cool stuff in it; Rock ‘n’ Roll Stuff may have some client stuff, law stuff, technology stuff, baseball stuff, and/or cool stuff in it; and Cool Stuff may have some client stuff, law stuff, technology stuff, baseball stuff, and/or rock ‘n’ roll stuff in it. Void where prohibited. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

* Client Stuff

* LogoWorks Selects SiteSpect To Optimize Web Site Conversion Rates (2006-01-18)
“SiteSpect, Inc., the first and only provider of non-intrusive web site testing and optimization software, has earned itself another customer with LogoWorks, the Utah-based pioneer of outsourced graphic design services. LogoWorks will use SiteSpect’s hosted A/B and multivariate testing solution to help optimize the effectiveness of its web properties and maximize conversion rates. LogoWorks is a design firm offering affordable services to thousands of businesses.”

* GetHuman Featured On The Today Show On NBC (2006-03-14)
The most popular part of the gethuman website is the gethuman database of secret phone numbers and codes to get to a human when calling a company for customer service. The Today Show on NBC featured the gethuman website and consumer movement on 03/14/06. I’ve included a link to other TV coverage as well.

* 90 Days of BzzAgent (2006-05-09)
A little more than 90 days ago, BzzAgent started an experiment in corporate transparency with its “90 Days” blog. An interesting experiment, interesting reading. Especially the 89th day, when I was mentioned. I wrote that “I now feel like Steve Martin in a scene from ‘The Jerk’ <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079367/>, when he said ‘The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need! My name in print! That really makes me somebody! Things are going to start happening to me now.'”

*Law Stuff

* Google AdWords Abuse Video (2006-05-03)
Google’s PPC (pay per click) advertising platform, AdWords, is wildly popular and ripe for abuse. Google has been accused of not paying enough attention to “click fraud” and other abuses of its system. The result is that advertisers pay more than they should, and users get deprived of the best user experience. This video demonstrates a lot of the problems.

* Apple vs. Apple (2006-05-08)
Apple Corps., the Beatles’ management company, sued Apple Computer for breach of a trademark agreement made 15 years ago, in which Apple agreed not to use its apple logo for selling music. Apple launched the iTunes music store, made millions, and the Beatles wanted a piece of the pie. Interestingly, Beatles music is not available on iTunes or any other downloadable music service. And there is the key word: service. Apple Corps. has a record label for selling music. Apple Computer offers a service for selling music provided by other record labels (presumably even Apple Corps.). There is room for Apple Corps. to appeal the ruling, but a UK High Court judge ruled in favor of Apple Computer, stating that “the use of the apple logo is a fair and reasonable use of the mark in connection with the [iTunes] service, which does not go further and unfairly or unreasonably suggest an additional association with the creative works themselves.”

* Warner Brothers Gets Smart, Does Deal With BitTorrent (2006-05-11)
As Copyfight pointed out, “If you offer the product people want in the form they want it, they’re likely to buy it.” Warner Brothers appears to have struck a deal with BitTorrent, Inc., that would allow popular movies to be distributed via the BitTorrent service for about the price of a DVD. I think it’s a good deal, but I also think that I should pay less for the electronic version of audio or video if I’m not getting the corresponding disc (CD or DVD).

* How To Determine The Value Of Your Domain Name (2006-05-18)
LeapFish.com estimates the value of any domain name using an algorithm that considers a variety of variables. If you have a short, memorable, English language word, dot-com domain name, then it is probably quite valuable. Let’s just say that I’m hanging onto the “heels.com” domain name until I need to pay for college for my three kids.

*Technology Stuff

* How To Turn Your Blog Into A Book (2006-03-02)
BookSmart and Blurb are blog-to-book self-publishing services. Come on, you know you want to do it. See also my article on how to publish your own book.

* Apple Dual-Boots Windows XP (2006-04-05)
Apple announced software, Boot Camp, that allows Intel-based Macintosh computers to run OS X or Windows XP natively. Or you can run multiple operating systems at the same time with virtualization software from parallels.com. The jury is still out on the implications.

* How To Keep Blogs From Scaring People (2006-04-09)
OK, I edited the title a bit. But here’s my reply to Six Apart’s post on this topic. I submit that you’ll need to make the terminology more understandable, the modules more pluggable, the APIs more useful. For example, I should be able to easily email a post to my blog. I cannot. I should be able to easily synchronize the look-and-feel of my website and my XML feed. I cannot. I should be able to easily integrate my blog with third-party services like Technorati and del.icio.us. I cannot. Sure, I can do all of these things, and I generally enjoy doing them because I am a hacker. But it’s not easy, not transparent, not non-frightening for the newcomers or non-techies. Translation: Six Apart, you’ve got some work to do. You need to encourage, nurture, and support your ProNet plugin directory <http://www.sixapart.com/pronet/plugins/>. You need to incorporate more template modules into your default templates to eliminate unnecessary redundancies. You need to lose the idea that a weblog home page should look different from archive pages. You need to keep innovating or more Movable Type bloggers will move to WordPress. Otherwise, blogs – and Movable Type blogs in particular – will continue to scare the [heck] out of people.

* BostonWTF Launches (2006-04-10)
Bloggers Rod Begbie, Glenn McDonald, and Brian Del Vecchio launched BostonWTF (Web Technology Forum), a group blog profiling Boston-area web startups and their products. Based on the font and color that BostonWTF has chosen for its logo, I’m guessing that they are big fans of Dunkin’ Donuts.

* Website-To-RSS Tool (2006-05-02)
Create an RSS feed from non-RSS (or non-Atom) websites.

* How To Get Your Business On TV (2006-05-17)
This is a good example of how technology is breaking down barriers. If you have to work with ad agencies, then be prepared for monumental inefficiencies, high costs, and dashed expectations. At least that was my experience when I was working in the Internet space in the 1990s. Have you seen the quality of the Ford ads that are being cranked out every week for American Idol? Enough said. SpotRunner is a possible solution. SpotRunner allows you to pick a pre-produced ad, customize it, and run it. They didn’t have any ads for patent and trademark attorneys, but they may have one for you.

*Baseball Stuff

* Steinbrenner Names Johnny Damon As New Yankee Scapegoat (2006-03-30)
The Onion missed April Fools’ Day by a couple of days with this one, but it’s a gem. Said The Onion, “Continuing a Yankee tradition that dates back to the teams of the early ’80s, owner George Steinbrenner formally appointed recently signed center fielder Johnny Damon as the team’s new scapegoat…. According to Steinbrenner’s statement, Damon exhibits all the qualities he looks for in a Yankee scapegoat, including lofty expectations, high salary, and a controversial personality.”

* Loretta’s Homer Lifts Red Sox In Ninth (2006-04-17)
This Patriots Day game was one of the best of the season so far.

* Red Sox Sweep One-Game Series With Yankees (2006-05-01)
A rainy spring meant a one-game series with the Yankees in Fenway. The return of Johnny Damon and Mike Myers in Yankee pinstripes. The return of Doug Mirabelli as the catcher for Tim Wakefield. And the reprise of David Ortiz as the greatest clutch hitter ever, who homered with the wind gusting (not blowing) in. Baseball drama at its best. Check out the NPR radio report of Mirabelli’s return.

* MLB vs Fantasy Baseball (2006-05-22)
Because there is lots of money in fantasy baseball, Major League Baseball is suing the operators of an online fantasy league over its use of statistics. This ought to be fun.

*Rock ‘n’ Roll Stuff

* How To Play The Blues
DesktopBlues lets you create your own blues songs (via Yahoo! Surfers’ Picks, original URL now 404).

* How To Play The Guitar (2006-03-24)
Guitar Noise offers free lessons and advice.

* A Star For Weird Al (2006-03-31)
The Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Campaign for “Weird Al” Yankovic, who’s parody songs are frequently more memorable than the originals.

* American Idol Top 2 Preview (Or Why Taylor Hicks Is The 2004 Red Sox) (2006-05-22)
Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee sing for the title 05/23/06 (tonight).

*Cool, Fun, And Funny Stuff

* Toy Auditions At FAO Schwarz
FAO Schwarz offers toymakers an opportunity to present their creations at its Toy Auditions, held at the FAO Schwarz store in New York City. Upcoming dates: 07/13/06 and 09/14/06.

* American Inventor Winner Is Janusz Liberkowski (2006-05-18)
ABC’s American Inventor took the American Idol formula and applied it to inventions. The winner was Janusz Liberkowski, the inventor of the Spherical Safety Seat. Ed Hall, inventor of the Word Ace, an electronic table-top word game, also got a deal from Hasbro Games.

* What If Microsoft Tried To Market The iPod? (2006-03-01)
A very funny video showing what could happen if Microsoft were in charge of packaging the iPod.

* Isolatr: The Antisocial Social Networking Site (2006-03-21)
If you are tired of all of this talk of Web 2.0, folksonomy, and community, then isolatr is for you.

* OpenOffice Star Wars Game (2006-04-16)
There is a Star Wars video game in Open Office, discovered in Lifehacker’s annual Easter egg hunt.

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