Gadgets

The NY Times ran an article today about people losing interest in their gadgets. This is a plea to those in the article, especially the girl in the picture that is making an “I just don’t care” motion to her palm pilot and iPod: Please send your “boring” gadgets to me! This goes out to anyone who was nodding in agreement as while reading the article too.
I don’t know that I’ve ever lost interest in a gadget. I’m not as spend happy or gadget obsessed as some, but I use my CD burner to back up my computer every two weeks. I take digital pictures all the time, and my new laser printer has been churning out printed pages since I got it.
The only gadgets I don’t use are those that are broken… from use. My camera lens doesn’t auto focus anymore (I think due to snow), and my old printer is out of its expensive ink (due to printing).
One gadget I’m amazed that I’ve survived without is a cell phone, but I have no job and my friends are all easy to reach: I just call their cell phones. I do have a normal phone of course.
Some gadgets are more useful than others. Aside from my computer, my most useful gadget is my other computer. I have to admit that I was distracted today by Sony’s new tiny computer, but the one I have is still going strong. It’s not “old” or “in a drawer” by any means.

Cowboy Up

As I write this there are Red Sox fans in my street hootin’ and hollerin’ in celebration of tonight’s victory. I don’t know if those in other cities have been privy to the “Cowboy Up” phrase that has become an unofficial slogan / cheer of this year’s Sox, but it’s popular enough to have found its way onto t-shirts, signs, and even into law school emails.
The trademark implications of printing “Cowboy Up” on t-shirts and signs could be very interesting as excited fans open their wallets. The Associated Press reports that a Wyoming company called Wyoming West Designs that has a trademark in the phrase has begun to make quick licensing deals with baseball merchandise vendors. I can’t find this in the USPTO database. It’s late though – so maybe it’s there and I just don’t see it. In any case, I doubt Wyoming West would have a good case for infringement against those making the shirts to sell outside Fenway Park. There could hardly be confusion as to source.
The Red Sox themselves might have a good case against the shirt makers since they’re relying on the good will of the Sox to sell the shirts (which have the same colors and fonts as the Sox’s marks). I suppose a cheap license from Wyoming would give the Sox a stronger case against shirt makers around Fenway.
In any case, I’m too tired to really analyze this, but I think it’s an interesting case. Wyoming West Designs really has been using the mark for shirts and stickers, but they don’t own the domain cowboyup.com. Jerry England got to that one first. He’s using the phrase for his “folk art”. Someone is running some sort of instant community software to make cowboyup.org, but it looks to me like this was before the Sox’s use of the phrase. Cowboyup.net features another clothing store. So it appears that the phrase was popular enough amongst real cowboy enthusiasts to snatch up all the good domain names before baseball marketers knew what was happening. Maybe the fans should have adopted a fanciful mark like “Cobup”. It would have been much easier to protect under trademark law.
There’s only one Google Adwords ad for “Cowboy Up”, and the interest bar is full from people going to Today’s Champs.

Hosting for Tattoos

Mindfield Media is offering free web hosting for life. The only catch: you have to get a tattoo. This promotion is, of course, working because people like me keep linking to them. (The logos don’t actually say the name of the company, so unless they were making a huge branding push, they would generate few, if any, sales from the tattoos.)
A lot can happen in a lifetime. 100 megabytes might not have much value sixty years from now, and it might be decided that “cheep” should be spelled “cheap”… oh wait.
If you’re in the market for hosting but don’t want to permanently alter your appearance, you might try the horribly named service I use for this site: my site space. It’s only $40 /yr and has almost every feature one could want. Not super reliable, but when something goes wrong they fix it and point out that “hey, it’s only 40 bucks.” (via BoingBoing)

Red Sox Madness

I’ve never lived anywhere as devoted to baseball as Boston, and I’ve lived in a lot of places. Living within five minutes walk of Fenway park has given me a real appreciation for the effect the Red Sox have on this city, but now that the team is actually doing well, I am amazed at the level of support for the team.
Last Saturday, the Prudential building spelled out a massive “Go Sox” in office lights. It was the kind of thing you see in magazine ads but rarely in reality – and rarely does it ever look so clear. I’ve heard through the grapevine that another big Boston building is planning a similar spelling for this weekend, and I wonder how many other buildings are planning to get involved.
Meanwhile, I just received an email from BU dean of students (for the whole university, not the law school). He encourages BU students to “enjoy and celebrate conference playoffs with . . . discretion and regard for others and the law.”
The tone of the email presumes a city on the brink of chaos: “For those who may contemplate behavior or actions which would disrupt, cause damage to property or otherwise violate the law, you should be aware that the City of Boston is fully prepared to take action . . .” Remind me to lock my doors and windows this weekend as the Fenway neighborhood braces for impact.

Patent Pimp

This is an actual job listing, with certain details omitted. Read carefully:

If you are interested this, please e-mail your resume, no later than Friday, October 3, 2003 by 5:00 eastern standard time. This October 3, date only applies to this firm. See Below:

[Firm Name]
[Firm Address]
Contact: [Contact Name]
E-Mail: [Contact Email]

Area of Intellectual Property Law: Patent
Type of Prostitution: Full-time
Preferred Background: Associate EE, 2nd-5th year.

Famous Hands

I’ve been listening to a lot of Spiritualized® lately in preparation and anticipation
of their concert in Boston this Saturday. The tour supports the new Spiritualized®
album Amazing Grace. Spiritualized CDs are always innovative in their artwork
and packaging. The best of which has to the be the “Ladies and Gentlemen we
are floating in space BP”, which looks like a pharmacy package (“for aural use”).

The latest album cover is a picture of hand:

But I’ve been listening to something else with a hand on the cover too. Two
hands in fact:

And thinking about hands on album covers reminds me of yet another album, one
that’s actually called “hands”. The Spinanes have four hands on their album
cover:

All three albums seem to use hands to express human acts of reaching and caring.

Insurance companies and non-profits have developed their own, now famous, hands
to express similar acts.

You’re in good hands with Allstate:

United Way will make a rainbow over you, but the Boys & Girls Clubs will
teach you a secret handshake.

Food marketers have also created some famous hands.

There’re the yuppie Country Crock hands:

And our pal, the Hamburger Helper hand:

Indeed there are hands for just about anything. There’re even some famous legal
hands.

The hand of Hawkins:

And, of course, Judge Learned Hand:

Most Expensive Zip Codes

Forbes has a ranking of the most expensive zip codes in the United States. (Do they even have zip codes in other countries? Or only the much-less-zippy “postcode”?) The criterion is the median home sale price. Beacon Hill’s 02114 comes in at number 18 with a median home sale price of $1,135,000. That’s the only Boston-area code I see on the list. Indeed, after consulting Nick Aster’s zip code map, it looks like it’s the only New England (ie “0”) code on the list. West coast (ie “9”) codes seem to be well represented.

F&R Entertainment Law Seminar

I went down to the Fish & Richardson’s “What you need to know about the law & business of Media & Entertainment” seminar this morning (pdf). It was a good review of copyright and trademark with a lot of great stories and industry insight (mostly the publishing industry).
Brad Meltzer was the highlight of the seminar, and gave a great presentation. He certainly bridged the gap between the media/writer types and the lawyer-types, having one foot firmly planted in each profession. His book publishing deals were fascinating, but I suppose any book deal story should be interesting if told by the writer. Who better to tell a story than a fiction writer?
Big portions of Meltzer’s speech are on the Q&A section of his website. Worth a look for anyone curious about one author’s writing process.