Internet Reaches New Stage of Permanence

There’s a lot of buzz around this decision (full pdf opinion – see pages 12-14) to allow archived web pages from into federal court, overcoming hearsay and authentication objections. This doesn’t seem very surprising to me, but I’m often reminded of the fact that people don’t realize that the internet leaves an electronic paper trail.
I occasionally get emails asking me to delete posts or remove names from Law School Discussion. I think these usually result from people typing their own names in Google and discovering that, yes, Google really was good enough to find what one published for the world to read. With, the web has a perfect memory. It remembers my poor design of Law School Discussion, and that of popular sites like Yahoo!. If a memory can be shown to be perfect, why shouldn’t it be admissible in court?
The lesson to this is that everyone publishing to the internet – including on blogs or message boards, should be aware that they’re leaving a permanent mark. You have the right to remain silent, anything you freely publish to the world can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Crooked Fingers Show Report

I saw a fabulous performance by Crooked Fingers on Wednesday night. Crooked Fingers is essentially the solo project of Eric Bachmann, the former singer for Archers of Loaf. They’ve been one of my favorite musical selections over the last couple of years, and seeing Bachmann live would have been a treat under any circumstances. What made Wednesday’s show special was that Bachmann played on the floor of the club instead of the stage. There were only about 100 people in the room, so everyone gathered around for an acoustic set. It was dark, quiet, and incredible.
If you like dark, drunken, folky music, I highly recommend checking out Crooked Fingers. KEXP has an interview and performance that gives a good introduction.

FedEx Kinko’s and E*Trade Logos

I was thinking recently about the similarity between the E*Trade logo and the new FedEx Kinko’s logo. I saw a commercial for E*Trade but thought their asterisk was telling me something about Kinko’s. Where there’s consumer confusion there’s either (1) a dumb consumer (me maybe…), or (2) a strong trademark infringement case.
Have a look at the two logos:
etrade and FedEx Kinko's logos
They’re very different, but the strong feature (especially in the case of E*Trade) is the large multicolored asterisk. Interestingly, I only just noticed that the E*Trade asterisk contains two colored arrows, and that, coincidently, the FedEx logo also contains a hidden arrow. The FedEx Kinko’s asterisk contains arrows as well, most obvious in their physical sign.
kinkos sign
Between E*Trade, Kinko’s, and FedEx, there are enough arrows to arm Robin Hood. For more on the hidden FedEx arrow, check out yesterday’s interview with the creator of the FedEx logo on The Sneeze, and check out Typographica for an interesting analysis of the FedEx Kinko’s combination. You can also view all of the FedEx logos here.

I Passed the NY Bar Exam

I found out today that passed the NY bar exam. (If you didn’t know the results were out, click here.) Now that I know I passed both NY and MA, I can say that I’m glad I took two bar exams, and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to keep their employment options open. I wrote something that turned into a full article on my experience with advice for pre-bar JDs. It’s way to long for this site, so it’s on Law School Discussion: Taking Two Bar Exams. Enjoy.

A Fire Alarm that Actually Signaled a Fire

I woke up this morning at 6am to the screaming sound of my building’s fire alarm. Since moving in a few months ago, there have been at least five false fire alarms here. A couple of those were of mischievous origins, and I think a couple were spawned by remodeling construction. Needless to say, the boy-who-cried-wolf mentality had begun to set in, and my motivation to slowly get dressed and head to exit this morning was powered more by my interest in escaping the noise than my interest in escaping an unlikely fire.
After waiting outside in the freezing cold (it hadn’t yet started snowing) for about 20 minutes, I finally came to the realization that fire trucks were arriving from different fire stations, and that there may actually be… a fire!
It turns out there was a small fire in the trash compactor (this is a large building with it’s own trash compactor). My fellow residents and I waited in another building, watching Clifford the Big Red Dog, while the fire department did its thing. Judging by the time of day and the number of people in the other building, I think it’s safe to say that there were a lot of people that just waited it out inside. I’m glad I didn’t try that.
In the end, this wasn’t that big of a deal, but it’s worth noting that sometimes fire alarms really mean “hey, the building is on fire” and not just “hey, those damn kids pulled the switch again”. This was nothing compared to the last fire I witnessed.

New Microsoft Search Engine

Microsoft has been lurking in Google’s ever-growing shadow for a long time. Today it launches a beta version of its new search engine. I did a few quick searches to try it out, and it looks like it works pretty well. I think most search engines are working pretty well these days though. These companies have had lots of time to develop algorithms for helping people find what they’re looking for.
As far as the look and layout goes, I’m amazed that people think the Google look is the only acceptable way to present search results. MSN results match the look of Google right down to the font and colors. Their “sponsored listings” are also very similar but slightly less obviously labeled (labeled more clearly than before though). They show more sponsored results that Google at the moment too.
The sponsored links come from Overture, the company that pioneered the paid search listing practice (f/k/a, and subseqently acquired by Yahoo). The news results come from Moreover Technologies, the company I worked for before going to law school. It’ll be interesting to see whether Microsoft develops some of this stuff in house (an advertising network to compete with Google?) or continues to outsource the specialty services.