Good Ol’ Organization is Still Pretty Good

I think the search engine is an amazing invention that has progressed to be so useful as to change the way society uses facts and knowledge. That said, no matter how amazing the search engine becomes, I’ll always be a fan of good old fashioned organization.
The new Mac operating system will be able to search your entire computer in moments and Microsoft is not far behind. Gmail thinks that nothing should ever be discarded, it’s too easy to search it later. Amazon prefers that you just search for something instead of using a menu hierarchy to browse.
Search is very useful, but let’s not get carried away (it’s not going to help you find your shoes). Organization is still a great way to keep things findable, and it only complements search.

Ridiculous Warning Labels

flammable warningWe’ve been reviewing torts for three days in my BarBri bar review class with Professor Robert Schechter from George Washington. Professor Schechter is greatly entertaining, and in today’s lecture he covered product’s liability and the warning labels that can help to absolve a defendant of strict liability in defective design cases. I did a quick search to find some the websites that Professor Schechter mentioned were devoted to funny product labels.
I found a lot of sites where people have made up funny warning labels. What’s the fun in that? “Wouldn’t it be funny if…?” No. What makes obvious warning labels funny is that they are (1) real, and (2) obvious. Those are the elements of funny warning labels. (Okay – I’ve been writing down a lot of two-pong tests lately.) I did find some sites that have actual references to real labels. M-Law seems to have the best collection because they host a contest for finding these things. Professor Andrew McClurg wants you to buy his book to read his favorite labels, but he has written a hypothetical joke label for your liability-free enjoyment.
I’ll never forget a label I saw in England on a jar of peanuts. For some reason, in England, food products have a “use within X days” label which is often an unreasonably short period of time. On the back of this huge peanut jar I was informed that, once opened, I should consume all of the peanuts within ten days. The company was apparently very fearful of liability, upon reading a little further down I discovered another warning: “Caution: this product may contain traces of peanuts.” I should hope so.

Trademark of Generic Pizza

pizza boxNot every business can afford to promote their products with excessive branding of all their packaging. This is the reason that many Asian restaurants in my neighborhood use a generic “Delicious Chinese Food” box despite that it’s contents are not necessarily Chinese or delicious. The same is true for the generic pizza box, which often proclaims something like “Fresh Piping Hot Pizza” regardless of whether its fresh or hot.
I saw something new in this realm last week when, after consuming a large amount of truly delicious pizza at a rather anonymous restaurant in Boston’s north end, I asked for a to-go box to take home some remaining slices. The box was not labeled with the name of the restaurant or the box maker, but strangely purported to establish trademark protection in its logo!
I think most trademark lawyers would agree with the USPTO’s one-line definition of a trademark: “A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”
The maker of this mark is not only allowing, but promoting the mark to be associated with all kinds of different pizza makers. Surely the association of the mark with a particular source is one of the fundamental requirements of trademark protection. What’s the source of this box?

Crazy Cat Outfits from Japan

cat in hatThis cat outfit link has me immediately bewildered as to one thing: what’s the dollar / yen exchange rate!
(moments later..) It’s around 110 Yen to the US Dollar, making these crazy cat outfits a very reasonable $25-$30. Now there’s just the shipping from Japan to figure out. How much are cats? I suppose I would need one of those too.
Remember, as the site says, “Just dress [your cat] up only on special occasions like her birthday, takes a photo and that should leave you lots of memories and fantasies.”

New Women’s tortfeasor Shirt

law t-shirtThe Miss Feasance (get it?) shirt from tortfeasor comes out today. I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking for a fitted women’s shirt and people seem to specifically like tank tops. Thus I bring you: the Miss Feasance shirt.
I’m happy to be using American Apparel brand shirts for these. American Apparel is a progressive company making really nice clothes sweatshop free.
As a promotion for the new shirt, I’m also bringing back the blogger’s discount on all tortfeasor shirts. Link to the shirts from your blog and get $2 off.

The GIMP is No Gimp

I’ve been playing around a little with The GIMP image editing software. It’s an open source application that’s supposed to do much of what Photoshop does. Though I can’t afford Photoshop for comparison, I’m amazed with the quality of The GIMP. It’s easy to figure out the basics, and somewhat easy to figure out the advanced stuff. There’re so many techy (and probably amazing) open source projects out there, but it’s interesting (and fun) to check out some of the stuff available at the end user level.
If you have Windows, you’ll want to get The GIMP here.
* You’d think, observing the trend to use more and more images on this site, that I would have a little image for an entry about image editing software. I call your attention to the July bar exam to justify that failed expectation.

Stunt in Technological Growth Hits Home

My high school radio station KMIH (my foremost pursuit during high school) is facing an imminent FCC ruling that will take it off the air. A commercial station based in a small Oregon town has applied to take over the frequency, and the FCC gave its approval (then took it back, but who knows what will happen).
I remember the radio station’s fearless leader complaining about FCC procedures even when I was a high school student in 1995. The FCC had denied an application to expand the station’s broadcasting power.
While I don’t know much about FCC procedures, it seems to me that these fights over broadcast bandwidth could be eliminated if society had adopted digital technology faster. We have millions of cell phones and hundreds of wi-fi hotspots in every major city, but only a handful of radio stations. We’re long overdue for broadcast media companies to give up their huge analogue bandwidth slices in favor of low consumption digital signals. Maybe it’s time for some government regulation to promote that spread.
Declan McCullagh argues that the FCC should be abolished in favor of privatized bandwidth allocation. Ernest Miller responds by wishing for re-chartering. Surely broadcast companies would privately promote technologies that allowed them to make full use of bandwidth that they owned (rather than leased / licensed bandwidth that requires a particular use: analogue broadcast). Alternatively, the FCC could charge broadcasters the true cost of the giant bandwidth slices needed for analog broadcasting, and reserve channels for non-commercial use.
The fight between KMIH and its Oregonian aggressor (a little harsh perhaps) is really a fight for resources that are currently necessary but that don’t need to be. It’s a little bit like fighting over a particular energy source when there are lots of feasible alternatives available.

Ads on Pringles

barbri pringlesAccording to this article, Procter and Gamble will soon be putting advertisements and images directly onto Pringles brand fried potato snack product (I hesitate to use the word “chip” because Pringles are really a collection of potato particles pressed together).
This innovation comes in the wake of McDonalds branded griddle sandwich and cows that have been victim to hot branding irons since… well for a long time. I guess people don’t actually eat the branded part of the cow though, so this is still a novel idea.
Since Pringles can be crafted with such precision, how about making an educational line co-branded with BarBri Bar Review? I’d pay about twice the current Pringles price for a can that featured Evidence and Crim Pro questions on each chip-like wafer.

Incredible New Sony X505

sony x505The incredible new Sony X505 laptop can now be previewed on Sony Style. I continue to be amazed by Sony’s innovation and their willingness to compete with Apple for top designs (while Dell’s only creativity comes in the form of colored plastic snap-on pieces).
The new laptop starts shipping in the US in about ten days. If I had an extra $3,000 right about now… maybe I should apply for another bar loan.