Trygve.Com > Diary > JournalWeblogDiaryWhatsis - April, 2003
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April, 2003
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green goo on

because ... well ... why the hell not ...?

it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Monday, April 14th


For whom the belle toils:

I can't find the "Trygve Lode Ringtone" webpage any more, so it's probably gone. Not that I have a great need for it, but I thought it was a pretty funny idea when I ran across it. It was just one of those automatically-generated "search engine bait" pages, but it claimed to offer the most complete selection of free downloadable Trygve Lode ringtones for your cellphone (or whatever other device you might have that would need and support such things).

I guess I could create a new "Trygve Lode Ringtone" page myself--since I do have ready access to a means of creating such files--but I really can't imagine what sounds I make that someone would want to install onto a cellphone...or why.

But, courtesy of that noteworthy nexus of news, The Register, it looks like at least some people out there have been hard at work developing new and exciting downloads for your phone that make at least a little more sense:

Tired of spending your evening staring at your mobile, waiting for a man to call?

Well no longer, help is at hand! The Purring Kitty transforms Nokia mobile phones into discrete, vibrating massagers.

Apparently, readers of The Register are quite enthusiastic about their coverage of the latest in telephonic technology. One reader, Diana Lask, wrote in:

I simply wanted to say a nice "Thank You" for a story detailing a practical use of today's high tech gadgetry. I do believe that you should post more of these kinds of stories. Most definitely yes. Yes...YES...Oh MY GOD YEEESSS!

At a mere one-pound-fifty, I'm sure it would make a really exciting gift, especially for that special someone in your life who has just gone out and purchased a new video-enabled cellphone.

In what may or may not be a related story, The Register also reports on a Jamaican woman who attempted to abscond with a pilfered cellphone by concealing it inside a body cavity. You can read The Register's article if you'd like to know which body cavity. This cunning plot was, however, foiled, when the cellphone rang. Ooops; that had to have been embarrassing.

But as far as I know, the rightful owner of the snatched cellphone had not gone to the aforementioned now-defunct site and installed a bunch of "Trygve Lode Ringtones" before the incident. At least the article didn't mention anything about it.

Saturday, April 12th


Return of the Trolls:

Today's breakfast reading included a rather embarrassingly unprofessional and generally snarky threatening letter from Pantea M. Garroussi of Davis, Graham, & Stubbs, LLP, which I had previously believed to be a reputable law firm here in Colorado. Though you wouldn't guess it from her writing style, apparently Pantea actually is a lawyer and somehow managed to get through law school and everything.

Last month, I'd gotten an amusingly heavy-handed "cease and desist" letter from Allyson Kissell of Auto-trol Technology Corporation who threatened all manner of legal mayhem over a webpage about annoying website design that I'd written some three years ago and not thought about least up until getting Allyson's letter.

Now, there were a few problems with Allyson's claims of trademark violation and unfair competition such as the situation in question not meeting the legal tests of either. Though not the most critical, certainly the most amusing problem was that the trademark Allyson kept insisting was being infringed upon was not held by Auto-trol Technology Corporation at all, but by two other unrelated companies. My attorney, Darlene Cypser, Esq., dealt with these issues and more in her response to Auto-trol Technology Corporation dated March 21st, 2003.

 ...the bold approach of stating that the legal tests for trademark infringement are "irrelevant"... 

Now, three weeks later, Pantea Garroussi has written a response to Darlene's letter on Auto-trol Technology's behalf. While she doesn't manage to scrape up any legal citations or examples of case law to give as counterarguments to those cited by Darlene, Pantea does take the bold approach of stating that the legal tests for trademark infringement are "irrelevant,"

Though Pantea is unable to muster any legal backing for Auto-trol Technology's position, she does insist that there is "actual confusion of Auto-trol Technology's customers and business partners" who are unable to tell the difference between the two websites and, apparently, cannot distinguish fictional bad website design services from Auto-trol Technology's real product line. That's pretty scary. Pantea even claims they have been receiving "numerous phone calls" about this. I wonder how many they get about all the other real companies and products whose names are variations on Autotrol or Auto-trol.

Personally, I think that if you're coming out with products that your own customers and business partners can't distinguish from a joke, then maybe you should really be working on improving those products, not flinging random and ill-considered legal threats around.

But, that's just me. They may just not feel that they have much hope for product improvement. I don't know anything about their products, so I won't even try to speculate.

Anyway, Pantea throws in a few more gratuitous personal attacks just for fun. I think the bit about how I "spew distorted amateur pontifications on trademark law" is particularly ironic, coming from someone who can't muster any legal arguments at all. I am an amateur--and I haven't ever claimed otherwise--but what's Pantea's excuse? Seems to me that the standards for legal professionals who putatively specialize in a given branch of law and are operating in their professional capacity should be higher than they are for the random personal ramblings of a humorist/computer geek, not lower.

I'm not, however, reproducing the whole of Pantea's diatribe here, considering that the main thrust of it was actually to state that Auto-trol Technology has gone and registered (!) the copyright on their last cease-and-desist letter and they are demanding that I remove all copies of it from the internet and destroy any and all paper and electronic copies in my possession, lest I face "dire" consequences. Eeek!

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Friday, April 11th



Privacy International has announced the winners of their Stupid Security competition, culled from almost 5,000 nominations from 40 countries competing for the world's most egregious, annoying, inexplicable, intrusive and counter productive security measures. Nominations include the Australian government, the University of Texas, T-Mobile, San Francisco General Hospital and almost every airport authority in the world.

 ...any potentially dangerous bulges hidden under my pants... 

Seems like I ought to have come up with a few nominees to send in myself, though I don't think I've been "lucky" enough to observe any first-hand that would have stood a chance of winning the contest. My most puzzling personal security experience is still the time when I was holding up the line because the female security guard (who had finished examined me for any potentially dangerous bulges hidden under my pants) had to locate a male security guard to perform a similar examination above my waist. She insisted that this was required by the regulations--she could pat all she wanted on anything below the belt, but only a same-sex guard could pat any higher.

But, luckily for me, a male security guard was eventually located and, having been patted above and below, we could all get on with our lives.

I wonder if there's a contest out there for most inexplicable, incomprehensible, and/or unnecessary product instructions and warnings. I should probably start saving up the more noteworthy ones I come across, just in case.

Like this package right here, labeled "Prema Parts." This one reads: "WARNING: Do not attempt to use Prema Parts for installation or repair unless you are properly qualified to do so. Fong Kai Industrial will not be held liable for damage to equipment as a result of incorrect usage of this part."

The parts in question happen to be screws.

Though, now that I think about it, doesn't Microsoft offer a Microsoft Screw Operator Certification Program? Maybe I should track down one of the study guides just to be safe.

Sunday, April 6th


Invasion of the Xeons:

Which sounds like it should be an episode of Doctor Who, but it's not.

At least not so far. I'll let you know if Tom Baker or any of the other Whovian incarnations show up.

Perhaps it's some kind of cosmic truth that, if you wish for something, it'll show up on your doorstep...five years later.

I'm not certain that this applies to anything other than computer and networking equipment, but you never know.

So now a half-dozen dual slot-2 Xeon servers have moved in with me. I haven't decided what to do with them all. I hear that I'm not the only person around who occasionally takes in strays, so it shouldn't shock anyone if I occasionally provide a home for some of the lonely, no-longer-state-of-the-art servers wandering around out there flashing their big "take me home" status LEDs hopefully at passing admins. Most of them don't eat too much, and, besides, the news crews don't start showing up at your house and asking awkward questions when you decide to take one of them apart.

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