July 30th, 2009


A Man's Gotta Know His Limitations

I am aware that, posting to a blog or vlog or anything like that, counts as publication, just like if you printed a book yourself, and that means you must be careful what you say, because a whopper lie can get you nailed for libel.

I know, doesn't stop a lot of people from saying all kinds of things about anyone, but if someone decides to make an example of you, something like this could happen:

In Chicago, a person who hangs out on Twitter is being hit with a defamation lawsuit.  The plaintiff is asking for $50,000 in damages for the following post:  "You should just come anyway.  Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you?  [The plaintiff] thinks it's okay."

So, just to make sure everyone is aware, keep in mind, courtesty of the Young Lawyers Blog:

  • A Tweet is a publication
  • In everything you do on Web 2.0, check your privacy settings.  Twitter allows you to "lock" your Tweets.  Though any Tweet would likely still be characterized as a publication for the purposes of libel, it is still a good idea to control who views your content.  If you still insist on keeping your Tweets open, be very careful about what you decide to publish. 
  • Do not use Twitter to defame others.  If you decide to publish a Tweet, you had better make sure it's true.
  • Advise your clients and friends to be careful with their "Trash-Talking Tweets."
  • While this suit involves Twitter, there are many other ways to "publish" defamatory statements in Web 2.0.  Be careful on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and anywhere else on the internet where you are publishing.
  • A video or audio clip recorded and then published on the web can arguably get you in just as much legal trouble as a written statement. (Cough...Cough...YouTube posts....Cough...Cough...CNN iReport posts.)  Be careful with any recording of statements, especially if they're untrue. 
In case you are wondering why, much as I hate Miguel de Icaza, I still watch what I type.

"Good Morning, Obama. This Is Your Wake-Up Call"

President Obama is finding out the hard way that people are paying attention to him.  The AARP is asking hard questions about his proposed health plan and gutting Medicare.  For those that don't know, the AARP is the biggest, most powerful lobbying organization in the country.  When they start asking questions, you're in deep shit.  He's also facing a lot of people angry that he wants to get rid of anonymous balloting for union elections.  As a former union guy, I understand why people don't want the people running the union intruding on their actions.  The energy tax is meeting huge resistance, no pun intended.  And based on this, I'm guessing his plan to green up cars at the cost of $1,400 per vehicle has also hit the skids.  The health care thing is a real problem, because it reveals how much people distrust the government.  A guy at work was trying to sell me on the idea of the government handling my health care.  I said, "Yeah...the same folks that gave us FEMA, the Post Office, the IRS...."

Obama basically shot his wad getting the stimulus package passed.  A huge bill that no one took the time to review that benefitted a select few and stuck the citizens with the bill.  Now that the abuses are getting out, like how the banks receiving the money are telling everyone they will NOT reveal what they are spending the money on and we can't make them.  The "Cash For Clunkers" program, to get people to trade in vehicles to boost the auto industry?  The cars that qualify for the $4.5K tax credit are not set in stone due to fuel economy.  18MPG is the borderline.  The feds have revised several vehicles that were 18's to 19's, and people are finding themselves either on the hook for an additional $4.5K or being forced to give the new cars back and take their old ones.  And some enterprising Internet detectives found a video clip from NBC back in 2004 where Obama slammed the Patriot Act for being so huge no one could read it before the vote, no debate on it, and the administration trying to intimidate anyone who didn't support it.  Hey, deja vu!

The media, which did such a good job trying to sell the American public that popular opinion was firmly behind Obama, is finding they can't deny the truth anymore.  They are finally reporting voter dissatisfaction with the Prez, with an approval rating hovering below the 50% mark.  The D's are getting desperate, with Nancy Pelosi saying they have the votes to pass the health care bill in August.  Uh-huh.  That's why you are saying that instead of just waiting (not to mention cutting deals with the Blue Dogs, conservative D's that were blocking the health care package in committee).

It's curious that, despite overwhelming opinion set against these proposals, they are still trying to force them through.  I have long maintained that we do not live in a democracy, but a republic.  Trying to do these things that everyone from economists to the voters are opposing proves this conclusively.  On the bright side, if any of this does pass, a lot of political carreers will be over and we may finally get some fresh blood in Congress.  Libertarian Party, get ready for the spotlight.

Welcome Back, Nolan. How Have You Been?

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, is getting ready to invade the video game world again.  Last year, he revealed he was developing a MMORPG, but was tight lipped about the project.  Now, details are emerging.  It's called Battleswarm, and it tries to fuse his gaming sensibilities with those of his sons (16 to 30 years old) to create something everyone will want to play.  It will combine roleplay and real time strategy.  It will be free to play, but you can buy enhancements for your characters.

Can't wait to see what he's got up his sleeve....
Kermit And Piggy

"Uh...Can I Uncast The Fireball? I Think It Made Him Mad"

Part of what's been hammering M$' profits is the R&D costs for Bing, M$' new search engine to compete with Google (the joke on the Internet is Bing is an acronym for, "Because it's not Google").  Bing was handled quickly after M$' attempt to buy Yahoo fell apart.  And for everything they pumped into it, Bing's share of the search engine market is unchanged from MSN's.

Now, M$ is trying to enter into a deal with Yahoo (it still has to be approved by regulators, and all the arguments M$ used to stop a nearly identical deal between Google and Yahoo are going to be used against them) where Yahoo lets its search engine go through Bing.  So Yahoo's search engine would be no more.

The stock market reacted to this by hammering Yahoo's stock, knocking it down 12.08 percent (Carol Bartz took over Yahoo after a shareholder revolt following M$ abandoning its plans to buy Yahoo.  Under her guidance, Yahoo stock climbed 42 percent since January until just now).  M$' stock rose 1.41 percent.  Next day, Yahoo lost another 4.62 percent, and M$ climbed 1.01 percent.  Steve Ballmer says he's surprised the market didn't react like it was the Second Coming because it's such a great deal.  In fact, the Yahoo shareholders have given a vote of "No confidence".  Tough crowd.

Part of the problem is that M$ and Yahoo are pretty much the only big players left from the Web 1.0 days and can't seem to change with the times.  So they are hoping to consolidate and disguise the erosion, thinking it will end after that.  Google's adaptability is running rings around them.

I've usually been happy with Yahoo's search engine, and haven't dealt much with Google's.  This goes through, I will never use Yahoo's search engine again.  M$ can eat me.

This Better Not Survive Challenge

Some guy just applied for and got a patent on podcasting.

No shit.

"It covers all episodic media downloads," which would include vlogs as well.

"1. A method for providing episodic media, the method comprising: providing a user with access to a channel dedicated to episodic media, wherein the episodic media provided over the channel is pre-defined into one or more episodes by a remote publisher of the episodic media; receiving a subscription request to the channel dedicated to the episodic media from the user; automatically downloading updated episodic media associated with the channel dedicated to the episodic media to a computing device associated with the user in accordance with the subscription request upon availability of the updated episodic media, the automatic download occurring without further user interaction;"

Hello, boys and girls.  The word for today is "overbroad".

Please notice this could apply to your DVR recording a show, or your VCR on a regular schedule.  Why, yes, the search for Prior Art has already begun.  Howdya guess?

Get A Horse!

It wasn't an hour and a half ago that I posted a bitch about the "Cash For Clunkers" program and what a dice roll it is.  Well, apparently, someone agrees with me.  The government has announced they are suspending the program (it's only been running since last Friday!).

The program set aside $1 billion to exchange the cars.  It's only used up $96 mil so far, but there are concerns about the backlog depleting the rest of the fund.  And instead of continuing funding, they're pulling the plug.

Makes me feel MUCH better about the proposed health care plan with the feds determining what medical attention I need.