Google and copyrights

WhoseTube? Viacom Sues Google Over Video Clips – New York Times — one has to wonder why this is limited to video material. If I am the owner of say the “Ford Mustang” copyright, or “The Who” copyright, or the “Nike” copyright, why do I let Google profit off the search results for these terms? Shouldn’t I demand complete control over the results page and any revenues associated with it? If it was my copyright and I had worked hard to market it, I don’t think I’d understand why Google was allowed to make money off of it.

Jack Welch on measurement

I really like this observation — Brand Autopsy: A Vital Jack Welch Quote

“Too often we measure everything and understand nothing. The three most important things you need to measure in a business are customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and cash flow. If you’re growing customer satisfaction, your global market share is sure to grow, too. Employee satisfaction gets you productivity, quality, pride, and creativity. And cash flow is the pulse—the key vital sign of a company.”

UPS Sucks.

Boy UPS let us down this week. We had perishable food shipped Friday in their approved containers to us for Saturday delivery. Saturday came and went, no packages. The tracking site indicates the packages were left behind overnight for some reason. I called and UPS’s responses:

* “did you call us saturday during the day and raise an issue? Because we would have prioritized them.” What am I supposed to bird-dog all the packages I send? I didn’t realize this.
* “oh you used a UPS store? you shouldn’t do that, they are unreliable, you should go straight to UPS facilities.” So maybe you don’t want to lend your brand to all those stores because as far as I am concerned, UPS now sucks.

I am waiting for email from UPS explaining all this.

Hat Tip to Amex; Alienware still sucks

I raised a dispute with American Express concerning my problems with Alienware and I have to thank them, it is making things happen. I finally got a personal contact from alienware today:

Dear Mr. Ludwig,

I tried to call you earlier today and left you a voicemail on the following regard. As I stated in the message, your system is ready to be shipped out, however earlier today Alienware received a chargeback dispute from your credit card company in the amount of $XXXX.XX. Unfortunately, we cannot ship the system out until this dispute is lifted. If you can please contact your credit card company and lift this dispute, it will be most helpful in expediting your order. Please feel free to contact me at anytime should you have any questions regarding this matter.

Thank you,

Critical Issues Agent
Alienware Corporation


Needless to say I will not be lifting the dispute. It is apparently the only lever I have — the system is just coincidentally ready to ship out the moment they receive the dispute notice. They can ship me the system and if it is perfect I will pay. I’d rather the money back.

Link Grab Bag

Just what is so freaking secret?

I’ve been thinking about HP’s actions — A Little Ludwig Goes A Long Way: "Pretexting" — and I’ve been wondering — just what is the board of a public company talking about that is so freaking secret? Why do they feel the need to treat a leak like a threat to national security? I really can’t wrap my head around this. I wonder why more board meetings aren’t open like many government proceedings are. I bet that would put a damper on ceo pay abuses among other board missteps.

Recent books — and stuff I should read

* “Beyond Oil”:amazon by Deffeyes. Excellent, breezy book looking at the production and supply issues behind oil and all other energy sources, by a very smart scientist. An essential read if you care about energy policy. It is difficult not to be an advocate of nuclear power after reading this.
* “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World”:amazon by Weatherford. A reasonably engaging history of genghis khan and the mongol empire. Sadly neglected in the history I was taught. One wonders how the world might have turned if just a few events had gone differently — the spread of the plague, the japanese invasion, the indonesian invasion.
* “The Ruins”:amazon by Scott Smith. Stephen king-esque. A little slow to start but finishes with a bang. Tho I never really cared about the characters.

Oh and stuff I should be reading — Marginal Revolution’s recommended reading list for PhD Macroeconomics.

The continuning collapse of the consumer software utility market

Well here it goes — BetaNews | AOL Offering Free Antivirus Software — your basic PC utilites are all going to be free soon, supported by ad and sponsorship dollars. PC productivty software for consumers is headed the same way. Why will consumer OSes not follow?

Basically consumers will end up paying directly for hardware (though in many cases this will be subsidized — consider the xbox or entry level PCs), for the pipe, and for entertainment (and again a lot of this will be subsidized by sponsors).

Grabbag of links

* The blockbuster bestseller is dying. “…the evidence shows we are moving away from a winner-take-all society, not toward it”
* Solar powered flickering candles. Ordered for Halloween
* Great lens guidance from bob and rich. I now know infinitely more.
* Netgear launches powerline 200. Exactly what I need for connecting up the Tivo to the net.
* Quikmaps via iunknown — easy way to markup maps. Nice.
* podcast of ted videos. Subscribed.
* Cellfire mobile coupons via techcrunch. Tried to sign up but doesn’t support the blackberry, darn.
* Some Aspects of aging are out of our control.