Friday, December 31, 2004

The Largest settlements Directory Online



settlements help
We have done our best to gather together the biggest settlements site directory and settlements help resource site on the Internet.

If you have been after Information, reviews, comparisons of specific sites that provide settlements help and much more that can be viewed and applied over the net you are going to find it here.

Our detailed directory was put together out of the Sad but True fact that when your searching half the time you don't find exactly what your interested in, we want to offer surfers the chance to find exactly what their after in one place, instead of having to scour the entire net, here you will find some of the the best places to apply for settlements help, offered by online Settlement Companies. If you want to find more

Working humor -- lawyers


God works wonders now and then;
Behold a lawyer, an honest man.
~ Benjamin Franklin

If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers. ~ Charles Dickens

He is no lawyer who cannot take two sides. ~ Charles Lamb

Lawyers I suppose were children once. ~ Charles Lamb

The trouble with law is lawyers. ~ Clarence Darrow

Lawyers are like rhinoceroses: thick skinned, short-sighted, and always ready to charge. ~ David Mellor

If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers. ~ Edward F. Halifax

An incompetent attorney can delay a trial for years or months. A competent attorney can delay one even longer. ~ Evelle Younger

If half the lawyers would become plumbers, two of man's biggest problems would be solved. ~ Felton Davis, Jr.

Anybody who thinks talk is cheap should get some legal advice. ~ Franklin P. Jones

It is unfair to believe everything we hear about lawyers, some of it might not be true. ~ Gerald F. Lieberman

source

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Minneapolis,?Minnesota?10 Day Forecast?by Intellicast: "Sunrise: 7:51 am UV Index: 1, Low Sunset: 4:47 pm
Moonrise: 2:18 am Phase: Waning Crescent Moonset: 12:35 pm
Averages and Records for Jan 5
Wednesday:
Windy with a few snow showers. Highs in the low 20s and lows 1 to -3F."

Movies:
Enter zip code 55402: Block E are the theaters downtown. I am a fan of ALL movies so I'm good to go. I would like to see the Bobbie Darrin one as well.
http://movies.channel.aol.com/showtimes/closesttheaters.adp?max=15&date=20041230&skip=0
The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Customer Service: The Hunt for a Human



December 30, 2004

Customer Service: The Hunt for a Human


By KATIE HAFNER

RY to reach customer service at Amazon.com to fix a problem with an order and you will encounter one of the most prominent and frustrating aspects of the Internet era: a world devoid of humans. Not only is there no telephone number on Amazon's Web site, but the company makes a point of not including one. Instead, customers are asked to fill out an online form and wait for a response.

'It's incredibly annoying,' said Ellen Hobbs of Austin, Tex., whose frustration has led her to publish Amazon.com's customer support number at her own Web site (clicheideas.com/amazon.htm). 'They haven't invested the kind of money in helping you solve problems as they have in selling you things.' In December alone, some 1,100 people visited Ms. Hobbs's site.

Indeed, in the pursuit of customer service, the Sisyphean challenge of making contact with a human defines the automated age, and can sometimes feel like a full-time job.

'It's almost as if we're dealing with this ghostly machine,' said Lauren Weinstein, a telecommunications consultant in Los Angeles who has made an avocation of studying customer service. 'You assume there are people back there somewhere, but it's as if the whole purpose of these systems isn't to provide customer service but to keep the customer at arm's length.'

Now, by punching or typing in a sequence of numbers, or by speaking to a machine that has been programmed to understand human speech, you can have access to information previously impossible to obtain without a human - the whereabouts of a package, for instance, or the balance of a of a bank account.

What is increasingly difficult to obtain, though, is the actual human. "Unless you want to call a neighbor," said Dorothy Meyer of Escondido, Calif. "You get them right away." Then she thought better of it. "But then, you don't. You get their answering machine."

Many consumers have developed any number of tricks for reaching a sentient being. Mr. Weinstein and others have discovered a number of techniques for outwitting the automation to reach a human, especially when confronted with the labyrinthine menus that accompany most phone-based systems.

Most people, for instance, know to punch zero even when the option isn't offered. And many a frustrated consumer has learned to pretend to be one of the few remaining telephone customers . . . .

[read more at the link]
Darwin - Online Feature - The Politics of Ownership: "MANAGING INTRANETS

The Politics of Ownership


BY : Toby Ward
12/28/2004

Who's in charge is the operative question.

(First of a four-part series)

What is the biggest challenge to achieving intranet success? You might be inclined to answer technology or budgets but, in reality, it is politics.

A 2001 study of 500-plus intranet managers by Melcrum Research of London, found that 74 percent of them identified content management -- the creation, publishing and management of content on the intranet -- as the top intranet management issue. 'Insufficient control and ownership' of the intranet was cited by 46 percent of managers, making this the 6th ranked issue. Number eight on the list, with 43 percent, was politics. Inexorably intertwined, ownership and politics together rank number one on the issues list.


See the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

THE SOCIAL LIFE OF PAPER









by MALCOLM GLADWELL
Looking for method in the mess.
Issue of 2002-03-25
Posted 2002-03-18

On a busy day, a typical air-traffic controller might be in charge of as many as twenty-five airplanes at a time—some ascending, some descending, each at a different altitude and travelling at a different speed. He peers at a large, monochromatic radar console, tracking the movement of tiny tagged blips moving slowly across the screen. He talks to the sector where a plane is headed, and talks to the pilots passing through his sector, and talks to the other controllers about any new traffic on the horizon. And, as a controller juggles all those planes overhead, he scribbles notes on little pieces of paper, moving them around on his desk as he does. Air-traffic control depends on computers and radar. It also depends, heavily, on paper and ink.

When people talk about the need to modernize the American air-traffic-control system, this is, in large part, what they are referring to. Whenever a plane takes off, the basic data about the flight—the type of plane, the radar I.D. number, the requested altitude, the destination—are printed out on a stiff piece of paper, perhaps one and a half by six and a half inches, known as a flight strip. And as the plane passes through each sector of the airspace the controller jots down, using a kind of shorthand, everything new that is happening to the plane—its speed, say, and where it's heading, clearances from ground control, holding instructions, comments on the pilot. It's a method that dates back to the days before radar, and it drives critics of the air-traffic-control system crazy. Why, in this day and age, are planes being handled like breakfast orders in a roadside diner?

This is one of the great puzzles of the modern workplace. Computer technology was supposed to replace paper. But that hasn't happened. Every country in the Western world uses more paper today, on a per-capita basis, than it did ten years ago. The consumption of uncoated free-sheet paper, for instance—the most common kind of office paper—rose almost fifteen per cent in the United States between 1995 and 2000. This is generally taken as evidence of how hard it is to eradicate old, wasteful habits and of how stubbornly resistant we are to the efficiencies offered by computerization. A number of cognitive psychologists and ergonomics experts, however, don't agree. Paper has persisted, they argue, for very good reasons: when it comes to performing certain kinds of cognitive tasks, paper has many advantages over computers. The dismay people feel at the sight of a messy desk—or the spectacle of air-traffic controllers tracking flights through notes scribbled on paper strips—arises from a fundamental confusion about the role that paper plays in our lives.
. . . go on. It's good.

Leverage Alert: Fannie Mae


ALL LEVERAGE SERVICES

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2004
1/4 CLOSE-OUT INSTRUCTIONS!

CANCEL ANY OPEN ORDERS AND PLACE A DAY-LIMIT ORDER TO SELL (TO CLOSE) ONE-
QUARTER OF YOUR ORIGINAL POSITION IN THE FANNIE MAE JANUARY 2005 75 PUT
(FNMMO) AT 6.10 OR BETTER.

FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU ORIGINALLY PURCHASED 12 CONTRACTS UPON INITIATION OF
THIS POSITION, YOU SHOULD SELL 3 CONTRACTS AT THIS TIME.

THIS WILL LEAVE 25% OF YOUR ORIGINAL POSITION OPEN.

THIS OPTION IS CURRENTLY BID AT 6.60, ASKED AT 6.90.

IF THIS ONE-QUARTER POSITION HAS NOT BEEN CLOSED BY 11:15 A.M. EASTERN TIME
TODAY, CANCEL YOUR DAY-LIMIT ORDER AND PLACE AN ORDER TO SELL (TO CLOSE)
THE ONE-QUARTER POSITION AT THE CURRENT MARKET PRICE.

FNM IS CURRENTLY TRADING AT 68.20.

WE RECOMMEND TAKING PROFITS OF APPROXIMATELY 150 PERCENT ON THIS QUARTER
BASED ON THE AVERAGE ENTRY PRICE. WE RECOMMEND HOLDING THE FINAL 25
PERCENT OF THE POSITION TO ATTEMPT TO LET PROFITS RUN.

YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE FURTHER COMMUNICATION CONCERNING THIS TRADE, INCLUDING
CLOSEOUT INSTRUCTIONS, IF YOUR SUBSCRIPTION IS NOT ACTIVE AT THE TIME WE
ISSUE FOLLOW-UP INSTRUCTIONS

Leverage Alert: Taser


ALL LEVERAGE SERVICES

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2004
NEW RECOMMENDATION!

PLACE A DAY-LIMIT ORDER TO BUY (TO OPEN) THE TASER INTERNATIONAL FEBRUARY
27.50 CALL (QURBY) AT A MAXIMUM ENTRY PRICE OF 4.50 OR LESS.

*** IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ENTER THIS POSITION BEFORE THE CLOSE TODAY, WE
RECOMMEND THAT YOU REPEAT THIS PROCEDURE THROUGH THE NEXT TRADING DAY. DO
NOT ATTEMPT TO GET INTO THIS TRADE AFTER THE NEXT TRADING DAY’S CLOSE. ***

THIS OPTION IS CURRENTLY BID AT 4.10, OFFERED AT 4.30.

TASR IS CURRENTLY TRADING AT 29.69.

NEVER PAY MORE THAN THE MAXIMUM ENTRY PRICE FOR THIS OR ANY OTHER
RECOMMENDATION. DO NOT INVEST MORE THAN 10% OF YOUR AVAILABLE CASH
ALLOCATED TO THIS PROGRAM IN ANY ONE TRADE.

IF YOU ARE A SUBSCRIBER OF MULTIPLE LEVERAGE SERVICES, ENTER THIS TRADE
ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF SERVICES YOU OWN. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU OWN TWO
LEVERAGE SERVICES, BUY TWO TIMES AS MANY CONTRACTS AS YOU NORMALLY WOULD
FOR A SINGLE TRADE.

YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE FURTHER COMMUNICATION CONCERNING THIS TRADE, INCLUDING
CLOSEOUT INSTRUCTIONS, IF YOUR SUBSCRIPTION IS NOT ACTIVE AT THE TIME WE
ISSUE FOLLOW-UP INSTRUCTIONS.


LEVERAGE SERVICES
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2004
COMMENTARY

TASER INTERNATIONAL (TASR) TRADE DRIVERS:

* Pessimism continues to mount toward TASR. The equity's Schaeffer's
put/call open interest ratio of 0.86 is resting near a six-month high.

* Furthermore, roughly 30 million shares have been sold short, making TASR
the 15th most shorted stock on the Nasdaq in number of shares. In
addition, approximately 60 percent of the equity's float have been sold
short. An unwinding of these bearish bets could fuel a substantial rally
in the shares.

* Wall Street continues to ignore the security, with only one analyst
following the firm. Any additional coverage could spur further gains for
the shares.

* The last three times the stock's 30-day historical volatility fell
sharply, the shares enjoyed a strong rally. In early April, TASR shot 51
percent higher and then gained 88 percent again in mid-June. In early
September, the stock advanced almost 50 percent following a drop in its
historical volatility.

* Technically speaking, the equity broke out above a bullish symmetrical
triangle formation on December 20, suggesting that higher prices are in
TASR's future.

* One concern is the more than 32,000 calls at the stock's January 30
strike. This accumulation of bullish bets is equal to about 23 percent of
the stock's last 20 day's average volume. This out-of-the-money call open
interest could provide some potential options-related resistance. However,
the equity's February 30 call is home to only 2,500 contracts at the
moment.

REVIEW OF RECOMMENDATION: Buy the TASER International February 27.50 call
(QURBY) at a maximum entry price of 4.50. We will closely monitor this
position and contact you immediately with updated instructions should our
expectations change.

You will not receive further communication concerning this trade, including
closeout instructions,
if your subscription is not active at the time we issue follow-up
instructions.
(Copyright 2004 Schaeffer's Investment Research Inc.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Stock Market


THE OPTION STRATEGIST Weekly Updater 12/24/04
The market responded nicely in early December, after the initial overbought condition was relieved. After running up strongly in the next week, there once again was a modest overbought condition. That, too, was alleviated by a 3-day hiatus in buying, and now the market is moving higher again. This is 'classic' action in a strong, young bull phase: overbought conditions are constantly generated, and then the market goes sideways or perhaps slightly down to relieve that overbought condition, and then the market rallies again. This type of action is really caused by shorts and under-invested institutional investors looking to buy on nearly any pullback. Whatever the reason, it's bullish and we continue to expect the market to rally in line with the targets outlined previously (673 and 690 are the targets for $OEX, for example). Moreover, the 'Santa Claus rally,' as defined by Yale Hirsch is upon us. It encompasses the last five trading days of one year and the first two of the next. This year, that's the entire week between Christmas and New Years, plus the first two trading days of 2005. Note that there is no market holiday surrounding New Years (that's always been the case with the NYSE when January 1st falls on a Saturday). It's certainly not very joyful of them to forsake a holiday next Friday, but I guess they need to book the extra commissions and fees that might be generated on a day when most of us would rather be off.

Equity-only put-call ratios were our first bullish indicators, with buy signals last August and October. However, they are getting 'tired' now, as the weighted ratio has given a sell signal (Figure 3) and remains on that sell signal despite the broad market's rise to new highs. The standard ratio (Figure 2) was waffling this past week and looked like it might generate a sell signal also. However, it did not, as it fell to new lows (which is bullish) when market moved to new highs.

Breadth has been strong. Even when sell signals were theoretically generated, they have quickly been erased by subsequent expansions of breadth. This is positive action, too.

Volatility ($VIX) continues to collapse, setting one new 9-year low after another (figure 4). $OEX implied volatility ($VXO) was briefly higher, but that apparently was an aberration, as it quickly collapsed back down to levels commensurate with $VIX. $VIX hasn't closed below 11 yet, but it certainly acts as if it might soon. In December, 1995, $VIX traded briefly down to 10.5. If that low is exceeded, then the previously lows were in early 1994. A recent poll in Barron's (unscientifically conducted, I'm sure) indicated that most traders expect volatility to remain low. Thinking as contrarians, we have to expect a rise in volatility soon -- but that doesn't necessarily mean the market has to fall (we've written several articles in the past, showing how volatility has increased when the market rallied -- 1995 and 1996 being classic cases in point).

To summarize, we expect to remain positive on this market unless it breaks support or trend lines. Thus price action is our major criterion -- not the technical indicators. Right now support on $SPX is 1185-1190 (Figure 1). For example, earlier this week, when it looked like there might be sell signals in both oscillators and in both equity-
only put-call rat ios, we still were not inclined to turn bearish because $SPX was holding well above support.

Rather than specifying support levels for each index, we are merely going to use the $SPX support as a guide for all indices, since it has been the strongest index in this move. So, if it breaks down, that would be negative for all the others.


Semantic Web


Tim Berners-Lee gives his Semantic Web 101 talk at the MIT Emerging Technologies Conference, September 29, 2004.

Visit the MITWorld video archives. http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/236/

"Here's what's coming: the "semantic web," a way of indexing and linking together different kinds of web content. He envisions computers becoming even more useful, deploying a common, non-proprietary "resource description framework" that enables them to draw connections between disparate sorts of information. "What's nifty", says Berners-Lee "is putting links between objects and even concepts. It allows a query on one database to morph into a query into others." He imagines the semantic web emerging as a "killer application" in the life sciences, where correlating data from different fields has become increasingly critical."


From Nancy Faget
US Army Corps of Engineers
Humphreys Engineer Center Support Activity
Headquarters Library
7701 Telegraph Road Casey Building
Alexandria, VA 22315-3860

FEATURED EXPERT: Richard Moroney


FEATURED EXPERT: Richard Moroney
27-DEC-04

Richard Moroney, editor of the Dow Theory Forecasts newsletter, discusses some of the upswings the market has displayed recently. Highlighting records that have been attained by the Dow Industrials and Dow Transports as well as the outstanding performance of the more broad markets, this featured expert explains that the bullish trend is being reconfirmed under the Dow Theory. Moroney adds that while this rally may remain strong in near term, a pullback under these conditions would not be surprising. Read this expert’s commentary and take a look at some names from his Buy List

Industrials confirm bullish trend


The Dow Industrials closed above the February high of 10,737.70, reconfirming the bullish primary trend under the Dow Theory. Subscribers should maintain a constructive stance toward equities, looking for opportunities to buy quality stocks at attractive valuations. For now, Richard Moroney’s cash position remains at 10% to 16%. As pullbacks in the broad market or individual stocks present opportunities, his cash position will be reduced.

Bull-market confirmation

At times, interpreting the Dow Theory is quite simple. On Dec. 21, the Dow Industrials closed at a 41-month high, finally surpassing the Feb. 11 close of 10,737.70. The Dow Transports closed at an all-time high.

Under any reasonable definition, the Dec. 21 closes in the averages represent significant highs. Under the Dow Theory, when both the Industrials and Transports are reaching significant highs, the primary trend is bullish — and higher stock prices are likely.

Supporting the bullish indication of the Dow Theory are uptrends in other averages and the broad market. The Dow Industrials represent the last major U.S. index to reach a significant high this year, and the strength seen in the broad market has been outstanding.

Fundamentals also support the idea that the trend is bullish. Corporate earnings are expected to reach record levels for full year 2004, as are dividend payments, share repurchases, and cash positions of U.S. companies.

However, subscribers should realize that the averages have not provided a new bull-market signal under the Dow Theory; the averages have confirmed that the uptrend that began in October 2002 remains intact.

Secondary corrections are part of all bull markets, and the speculative tone of the recent advance suggests a pullback may be necessary to dampen animal spirits on Wall Street.

Surveys of newsletter writers and other indicators suggest investor sentiment is unusually bullish — historically a sign that stocks may be due for a pullback. The percentage of NYSE stocks trading above 200-day moving averages is 82% — a level that suggests stock prices may be extended. . . .

See it here.

Google’s Library Project: Questions, Questions, Questions


by Barbara Quint
Full text
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
December 27, 2004 — Librarians, academicians, journalists, information industry pundits, and real people continue to ring in with comments, concerns, quarrels, and commendations for Google’s new library program. “This is the day the world changes,” said John Wilkin, a University of Michigan librarian working with Google. “It will be disruptive because some people will worry that this is the beginning of the end of libraries. But this is something we have to do to revitalize the profession and make it more meaningful.” Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, told the Free Press: “This project signals an era when the printed record of civilization is accessible to every person in the world with Internet access. It is an initiative with tremendous impact today and endless future possibilities.” When asked whether Google is building the library to replace all other libraries, Google representatives—after saluting the role of librarians—said they had “no such plans at the moment. There was too much work to do.”
Here is a roundup of some of the questions asked and answers posited:

Will the content Google derives from this library program become . . .

Monday, December 27, 2004

washingtonpost.com: Tribal Money Linked to GOP Fundraising

Tribal Money Linked to GOP Fundraising


Skybox Events Were Not Always Reported to FEC

By Susan Schmidt and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, December 26, 2004; Page A01


For most politicians, fundraising is a dreaded chore. But until recently, Rep. John T. Doolittle of California and other members of the House Republican leadership had adopted a painless solution: fundraising events in luxury sports boxes leased largely with the money of Indian gaming tribes, where supporters snacked on catered fare in plush surroundings as they watched the Wizards, Caps, Redskins or Orioles.

Abbe Lowell, left, consults with his client, Jack Abramoff, during a hearing before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Fees charged by Abramoff to six tribes totaled $82 million over three years, the panel found.Doolittle, a Mormon, is an ardent opponent of casino gambling, so it is somewhat ironic that he would invite supporters to watch the Wizards play the Sacramento Kings from an MCI Center suite paid for by casino-rich Indian tribes. But the plaque at the door to Suite 204 did not say Chitimacha or Choctaw. It said 'Jack Abramoff,' a name synonymous with largesse and influence in the GOP-controlled Congress.

Until the power lobbyist's downfall this year, Abramoff spent about $1 million annually in funds largely provided by his tribal clients to lease four skyboxes -- two at FedEx Field and one each at MCI Center and Camden Yards. Season after season, he kept them brimming with lawmakers, staffers and their guests, part of a multimillion-dollar congressional care and feeding project that even the brashest K Street lobbyists could only watch with awe or envy.

Lobbyists entertain lawmakers and their staffs routinely -- so much so that congressional rules limit the extent of it to avoid the appearance of impropriety. But Abramoff and the lobbyists who worked for him took spending for this form of hospitality to unprecedented heights. They used . . ."

Score One for the Little Guy!


Felix Kemp and all other persons similarly situated v. AT&T

Got 'em good on the 900-number scam because it was gambling, a RICO predicate act! Makes AT&T a racketeer. Public record.

Good one!

PREVIEW: The Philosophers' Blog


The Philosophers' Blog
From the January 3 / January 10, 2005 issue: Where condescension is king.
by Ross Douthat
01/03/2005, Volume 010, Issue 16



OF ALL THE LEFT-wing responses to Bush's reelection--the crying jags, the applications for Canadian citizenship, the bulk orders of Nicholson Baker's Checkpoint--perhaps the strangest of all can be found online at left2right.typepad.com, where a roster of academic all-stars have embarked on a mission to save American liberalism, one blog post at a time. There was no shortage of volunteers for the job: Left2Right, as the site is dubbed, boasts an astonishing 26 co-bloggers, representing 19 American universities and including such luminaries as Princeton's Kwame Anthony Appiah and Stanford's Richard Rorty (who has not yet, alas, contributed a post)."

WatchThatPage - Monitor web pages extract new information: "Monitor pages, extract new information



WatchThatPage is a service that enables you to automatically collect new information from your favorite pages on the Internet. You select which pages to monitor, and WatchThatPage will find which pages have changed, and collect all the new content for you. The new information is presented to you in an email and/or a personal web page. You can specify when the changes will be collected, so they are fresh when you want to read them. The service is free!
With WatchThatPage you can make your own newsletter customized with the information important to you, from the sources of your choice. Competitors, partners, online news and magazines, reports, events. Any page on the Internet can be watched. There is nothing to download to use WatchThatPage. All the heavy work is done on our server. All you have to do is to register your profile, and add the pages you want to watch. From now on, just lean back and let the updates come to you. "

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Leverage Alert: Fannie Mae


ALL LEVERAGE SERVICES

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2004
½-POSITION CLOSEOUT INSTRUCTIONS!

CANCEL ANY OPEN ORDERS AND PLACE A DAY-LIMIT ORDER TO SELL (TO CLOSE) THE
FIRST ONE-HALF OF YOUR POSITION IN THE FANNIE MAE JANUARY 2005 75 PUT
(FNMMO) AT 5.00 OR BETTER.

IF THIS INITIAL ONE-HALF POSITION HAS NOT BEEN CLOSED BY 3:45 P.M. EASTERN
TIME, CANCEL YOUR DAY-LIMIT ORDER AND PLACE AN ORDER TO SELL (TO CLOSE) THE
ONE-HALF POSITION AT THE CURRENT MARKET PRICE.

THE OPTION IS CURRENTLY BID AT 5.40, ASKED AT 5.50.

FNM IS CURRENTLY AT 69.58.

WE RECOMMEND EXITING THE FIRST HALF OF THIS POSITION IN ORDER TO LOCK-IN
PROFITS IN EXCESS OF 100% FOR THIS HALF, BASED UPON THE AVERAGE ENTRY
PRICE. WE RECOMMEND KEEPING THE SECOND HALF OF THE TRADE OPEN IN ORDER TO
ATTEMPT TO MAXIMIZE PROFITS.

YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE FURTHER COMMUNICATION CONCERNING THIS TRADE, INCLUDING
CLOSEOUT INSTRUCTIONS, IF YOUR SUBSCRIPTION IS NOT ACTIVE AT THE TIME WE
ISSUE FOLLOW-UP INSTRUCTIONS.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Downtown map of Minneapolis>



Huge file

Subject: Martha Stewart urges prison reforms


here

I'll bet she does....

http://newyorkbusiness.com/news.cms?newsId=9569

Leverage Alert: Fannie Mae


ALL LEVERAGE SERVICES

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2004
NEW RECOMMENDATION!

PLACE A DAY-LIMIT ORDER TO BUY (TO OPEN) THE FANNIE MAE JANUARY 2005 75 PUT
(FNMMO) AT A MAXIMUM ENTRY PRICE OF 3.10 OR LESS.

*** IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ENTER THIS POSITION BEFORE THE CLOSE TODAY, WE
RECOMMEND THAT YOU REPEAT THIS PROCEDURE THROUGH THE NEXT TRADING DAY. DO
NOT ATTEMPT TO GET INTO THIS TRADE AFTER THE NEXT TRADING DAY’S CLOSE. ***

THIS OPTION IS CURRENTLY BID AT 2.40, OFFERED AT 2.70.

FNM IS CURRENTLY TRADING AT 73.15.

NEVER PAY MORE THAN THE MAXIMUM ENTRY PRICE FOR THIS OR ANY OTHER
RECOMMENDATION. DO NOT INVEST MORE THAN 10% OF YOUR AVAILABLE CASH
ALLOCATED TO THIS PROGRAM IN ANY ONE TRADE.

IF YOU ARE A SUBSCRIBER OF MULTIPLE LEVERAGE SERVICES, ENTER THIS TRADE
ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF SERVICES YOU OWN. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU OWN TWO
LEVERAGE SERVICES, BUY TWO TIMES AS MANY CONTRACTS AS YOU NORMALLY WOULD
FOR A SINGLE TRADE.

YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE FURTHER COMMUNICATION CONCERNING THIS TRADE, INCLUDING
CLOSEOUT INSTRUCTIONS, IF YOUR SUBSCRIPTION IS NOT ACTIVE AT THE TIME WE
ISSUE FOLLOW-UP INSTRUCTIONS.

2610
December 16, 2004

Offline Search Tools: Best CD-ROM And DVD Indexers
Search Tools and Technologies

Great Spot for the Right person


National Geographic Employment/Careers: Jobs Available: "National Geographic Employment
Job Opportunities

Title:Librarian (Reference)
Location:Washington DC
Division:Library
Department:Libraries & Information Services
Job Type:Regular/Full time
Date Posted: 12/20/2004

SUMMARY OF POSITION
Advances the mission of the National Geographic Society by serving as an in-house expert in information retrieval and research and through the development, deployment and management of information resources, tools, and services, particularly in the areas of the sciences.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Resource Selection/Collection Development - Uses expert knowledge of the content and format of information resources and the latest services, publications and resources to select information resources that are appropriate in terms of format, language, content and coverage to build a dynamic science and environmental collection of both online and print information resources;

Reference/Research - Provides reference services for both NGS staff and the general public. Serves as the LIS subject expert in the Sciences. Based on direct staff questions, selects and searches appropriate internal and external print, online and world wide web sources; researches, analyzes and synthesizes information into accurate answers or actionable information for staff; helps patrons improve their research skills while helping them to find information. Required subject knowledge of Natural History/Science/Environment;

Alerting Services - Develops and delivers specific information packages or alerting services such as competitive intelligence, industry monitors, topic or issue indicators in a variety of formats including the Science Digest, Future Events database, LIS blogs and special research projects as needed;

Training and Special Projects - Develops training sessions, classes, seminars and other learning events for staff. Works on special projects that include developing content for databases and actively participating in intra library task forces. Develops research guides and finding tools;

Marketing/Outreach - Assesses and communicates the value of the library and information services to management and staff through the library website, liaison activities to NGS divisions, marketing of Total Research programs, new products and services and activities such as training day. Remains abreast of the strategic directions of NGS as a whole, the activities and initiatives of the various divisions and departments, and new products and services. Seeks alliances with other functions within the organization to optimize complementary knowledge and skills;

Professional Development - Maintains current awareness of emerging technologies and practices that may become relevant tools for future information resources, services, or applications. Remains current with the professional literature, best practices and trends in the field of library and information science. Pursues positions or projects outside LIS to gain a better understanding of how other functions apply information in their work and use this information to create services and programs for users;

Additional Tasks - Assist with the day to day maintenance of the physical collection as needed.

Tip of the Month from MEB


Mary Ellen Bates - Tip of the Month:

December 2004: Is This On the Record?
Strategic and competitive intelligence research used to be conducted through searches of the fee-based online services, interviews with current and former employees of a company, skulking around the target company's exhibit booth at an industry conference, and digging through public records.

Interestingly, a lot of strategic information can now be gleaned from a simple web search -- no dumpster-diving required. And I'll preface the rest of this article by noting that it is up to you and your organization to decide what your tolerance is for this type of research.

Try typing 'company name' AND 'company confidential' (or AND 'internal use') in any of the major search engines. Wow. You'll get similarly interesting results if you search for 'price list' or 'salary' along with the company name. "

Categorization Is Good: But It Should Be Driven By Language Users, Not By Information Librarians - Robin Good's Latest News


2611
December 17, 2004

Categorization Is Good: But It Should Be Driven By Language Users, Not By Information Librarians
Knowledge Management"

XML.com: On Folly: On Folly


By Edd Dumbill

In this week's column, I'd like to indulge in some gentle fun at the expense of pundits and pronouncers. While XML is as rich a field as any for crackpots and timewasters, we must be careful not to pour cold water on experimentation and innovation. The topics of XML-oriented programming languages and the Semantic Web have been targets of mockery in their time, so this week I'm asking whether the true believers might be right."

Monday, December 20, 2004

Stock Market


Friday December 17

Our bullish stance on the market is intact. Nearly all of the technical indicators are bullish, and most of the major averages (with the exception of the Dow) have made new highs this week. That type of price action is particularly noteworthy, and should be respected. Are we getting overbought again? Yes, perhaps, but that's what happens in these strong bullish moves. The key is to understand that pullbacks are limited -- perhaps mostly sideways -- and all they do is alleviate overbought conditions; one cannot expect to find full-fledged buy signals when the market is this strong. In fact, in an ironic twist, it would not be healthy for this continuing bull run to see the market sell off hard enough to make any of the indicators oversold and thus generate 'true' buy signals.

Since the major averages have broken out to new highs, it's imperative that they hold this newly acquired ground. Thus, if they were to slip back below the week's lows, it would not be good. Those levels are 1185 for $SPX and 565 for $OEX (see Figure 1). If the market should fall back that far, it would negate the breakout, and then we'd have to re-assess the bullish move.

The equity-only put-call ratios are split, with the standard ratio making new lows (bullish), but the weighted ratio having given a sell signal -- and stubbornly clinging to it, despite new highs in the major averages. The charts are shown in Figures 2 and 3. At this point in time, we are not overly concerned with the sell signal in the weighted ratio because it is the only sell signal we have, and the averages are at new highs. However, it is probably our most trustworthy indicator and thus we will not remain bullish if it stays on a sell signal and the averages fall back below their breakout levels (1185 and 565,
respectively, as stated above).

Market breadth has been very strong this week as small-cap indices outperformed the big-cap averages most every day but Thursday. Breadth is overbought again, but it was before, too, and is a pattern that can repeat itself a number of times as long as the market is in 'buy mode.'

Finally, volatility indices ($VIX and $VXO) have reached nine-year lows. In fact, $VIX closed today at 12.27 and traded below 12 briefly. It has not done either of those things since December, 1995 -- fully nine years ago. It should be noted that $VIX began to increase during most of 1996, but the market ADVANCED while that was taking place . Thus, it is not necessary for the market to decline if $VIX advances.

Our initially stated target for this move was $OEX 690, although research published in The Option Strategist about a month ago gave an alternate target: a 20% advance from the point when the first overbought condition abated. That occurred in December 7th, 2004, and yielded a target of $OEX 673 -- quite similar to the first target. Of course, these are just guidelines. We will let the technical indicators dictate our moves, but as long as the majority of indicators remain bullish, we will be inclined to retain our bullish positions.


To receive the complete commentary plus reccomendations visit here: http://www.optionstrategist.com/offers/strategist.htm

The New York Times > Books > Questions and Praise for Google Web Library:

December 18, 2004

Questions and Praise for Google Web Library


By FELICIA R. LEE

hen Randall C. Jimerson, the president of the Society of American Archivists, heard of Google's plan to convert certain holdings at Oxford University and at some of the leading research libraries in the United States into digital files, freely searchable over the Web, he asked, 'What are they thinking?'

Mr. Jimerson had worries. Who would select the material? How would it be organized and identified to avoid mountains of decontextualized excerpts? Would Google users eventually forgo the experience of holding a book, actually seeing a historical document, the serendipity of slow research?
But in recent interviews, many scholars and librarians applauded the announcement by Google, the operator of the world's most popular Internet search service, to digitize some of the collections at Oxford, the University of Michigan, Stanford and the New York Public Library.

The plan, in the words of Paul Duguid, information specialist at the University of California at Berkeley, will 'blast wide' open the walls around the libraries of world-class institutions.

David Nasaw, an historian and director of the Center for the Humanities at the City University of New York's Graduate Center, said the ability to use keywords to locate books and documents could save academics travel time and money and ease and broaden the scope of their research.

But Google's plan - which many saw as the first step toward creating a global virtual library - has huge implications for information gathering and use, also raising concerns among those interviewed.

No one forecast a brave new world without actual libraries. Rather, they raised questions.

How will research be improved for students already struggling with, among other things, how to authenticate Internet information? What new roles will librarians play in helping people parse a vast amount of more easily obtainable information? Will libraries have to cooperate to prevent redundancy in their collections?

Each agreement with a library is slightly different. Google plans to digitize nearly all the eight million books in Stanford's collection and the seven million at Michigan. The Harvard project will initially be limited to only about 40,000 volumes. The scanning at Bodleian Library at Oxford will be limited to an unspecified number of books published before 1900, while the New York Public Library project will involve fragile material not under copyright that library officials said would be of interest primarily to scholars.

"This all captures people's imagination in a wonderful way," said Kate Wittenberg, director of the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia University. "But whether it's right or wrong is not the whole question and not the whole answer."

This year Ms. Wittenberg's group completed a three-year study of research habits that included 1,233 students across the country. The study concluded that electronic resources had become the main tool for gathering information, particularly among undergraduates.

But, "What I've learned is that libraries help people formulate questions as well as find answers," Ms. Wittenberg said. "Who will do that in a virtual world?"

On the other hand, she said, an enhanced databank could make it easier for students to research topics across disciplines, changing the questions that professors ask and providing more robust answers. For example, a topic like "climate change" touches on both political science and science, she said, and "in the physical world, the books about them are in two different buildings at Columbia."

And because many students have trouble recognizing reliable Web sources, it cannot hurt that reputable libraries have only published, peer-reviewed materials, Ms. Wittenberg said. But looking ahead, she wondered about the vast amounts of materials and original documents housed outside libraries, in museums and archives.

Mr. Jimerson said, "A scanned image will only tell you some things, and the sheer volume of records makes scanning everything difficult." But he added that he supported Google's plan in theory. "I recall the story of a gentleman being in a library and watching a researcher sniff books," he said. "It turned out that the aroma of vinegar was still embedded in those that had been treated with vinegar to prevent cholera during an epidemic."

Likewise, Robert Darnton, a professor of history at Princeton who is writing a book about the history of books, noted that by looking at a book's binding and paper quality, a researcher can discern much about the period in which it was published, the publisher and the intended audience.

"There may be some false consciousnesses about this breakthrough, that all learning will be at our fingertips," Mr. Darnton said of the plans to enhance Google's database. He saw room for both Google and real-world research.

Some interviewed were concerned that Google could not fully reproduce material that was still under copyright protection, which means all books published in the United States after 1923. And in this day and age, Mr. Nasaw said, far too many students already read excerpts and seldom read the full texts.

It is not an either-or situation. Libraries have already been changed by the Internet, said Paul LeClerc, president and chief executive of the New York Public Library. Libraries will still be needed to collect, classify and store information, he said.

"TV did not replace radio," Mr. LeClerc said, "Videos and and DVD's did not replace people going to the movies. It's still easier to read a book by hand than online."

"The New York Public Library Web site gets three-fourths of a billion hits a year from 200 different countries and territories, and that's with no marketing or advertising," he said. "That's the context in which this new element has to be placed."

"We had 13 million reader visits last year," he continued. "We're serving a multiplicity of audiences - we serve people physically and virtually. It's an enormous contribution to human intellectual development."

Carol Brey-Casiano, president of the American Library Association, forecast a time when local libraries would more closely reflect the needs of their regions and population rather than all offering the same books. It means that libraries will become more collaborative, she said.

Already, libraries buy fewer reference materials because such materials are online, she said. At the same time, the number of library visitors doubled in the last 10 years to 1.2 billion visits a year now, she added, with many visitors seeking help in managing vast amounts of information. As she put it: "People are saying, 'I went on Google and I got 40,000 hits. Now what?' "

Many university leaders realize that for most people, information does not exist unless it is online, said Paul Courant, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan.

He said many universities wanted to digitize their holdings and wondered about collaborating on buying books to avoid redundancy in an increasingly digital world. Google's plan answered their needs, he said.

Mr. Courant acknowledged that some people in Michigan's library system were worried about losing the distinctiveness of the university's collection, as part of a vast database. But he theorized that Google would work as a form of advertisement to lead more people to the libraries' doors.

"The librarians will also continue to be responsible for archiving and curating our own material and collecting it," he said. "Many scholars will go online and say, 'I have to go see the book' and come here."Mr. Courant envisioned that in 20 years huge archives would be shared by institutions. While the world needs "tens of thousands of copies of 'To the Lighthouse,' " he said, "we don't need to have a zillion copies of some arcane monograph written by a sociologist in 1951.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Topic Map Explorer from Semantic Web Technologies - Personal Knowledge Management Software, Peer-to-Peer for Knowledge Management, Metadata Management: "Topic Map Explorer is a revolutionary way to organise, classify, search and find documents, emails, web links and contacts.

Documents are classified in terms of topics. They can be related to many relevant topics. This multi-dimensional classification makes finding the right documents easy.

Topics can be connected to other topics to capture knowledge, such as people with skills, or documents with themes.

Topic Map Explorer provides add-ins for Word and Outlook to help classify documents quickly and easily."
Topic Map Explorer from Semantic Web Technologies - Personal Knowledge Management Software, Peer-to-Peer for Knowledge Management, Metadata Management: "Topic Map Explorer is a revolutionary way to organise, classify, search and find documents, emails, web links and contacts.
Documents are classified in terms of topics. They can be related to many relevant topics. This multi-dimensional classification makes finding the right documents easy.
Topics can be connected to other topics to capture knowledge, such as people with skills, or documents with themes.
Topic Map Explorer provides add-ins for Word and Outlook to help classify documents quickly and easily."

new KM blog


univers immedia: "univers immedia
Everything is a subject of conversation. But how do we know we are about the same subject? Debate here is how to achieve 'subject identification' in a distributed network.

Contributors
AlexanderSigel
Murray Altheim
Suellen Stringer-Hye
Jack Park
Bernard Vatant "

Saturday, December 18, 2004

eBay Search Syntax



Search Commands

Search commands are ways of narrowing your search to get more specific results.

Note:
eBay searches are not case-sensitive, so whether or not you use capital letters, your results will be the same.

Your goal: You're looking for items where two or more keywords are all present.
Command: Just enter the keywords with a space between them.
Example search: Wedgwood cups blue
Returns: Items with all three words in the title in any order

Your goal: You're looking for items containing certain words in a particular order.
Command: Place quotation marks around the group of words.
Example search: "Gone With the Wind"
Returns: Items with titles containing Gone With the Wind, but not those just containing wind, gone or Gone With Wind

Your goal: You're looking for items that don't contain a certain word.
Command: Place a minus sign immediately before the word to be excluded (no space).
Example search:
bib overalls -baby
Returns: Items with titles containing the words bib and overalls but not containing the word baby

Your goal: You're looking for items that don't contain several words.
Command: Place a minus sign before the list of words separated by commas (with no spaces) and put in parentheses.
Example search: Wedgwood -(black,green,purple)
Returns: Items with titles containing the word Wedgwood but not containing black, green or purple.

Your goal: You're looking for items where one word or another is present.
Command: Enter keywords in parentheses separated by commas. (No space after the commas.)
Example search: (Wedgwood,Lenox)
Returns: Items whose titles contain either the word Wedgwood or Lenox

Your goal: You're looking for items that contain words starting with a particular sequence of letters.
Command: Enter the letter sequence followed by an asterisk.
Example search: chin* buddh*
Returns: Items whose titles contain words starting with "Chin," such as China, Chinese, Chinois, Chinook, and chintz, as well as words starting with "Buddh," including Buddha, Buddhas, Buddhist, Buddhism.

Your goal: You're looking for items containing a particular word in addition to an advanced search command.
Command: Use the plus sign (+) before the required word.
Example search: (Wedgwood,Lenox) +cup
Returns: Items whose titles contain cup and either Wedgwood or Lenox.

Your Goal: In some cases, eBay will expand your search to include a plural and/or an alternate spelling of your search word(s). For example, if you were searching for book, you would receive search results with items containing the keyword book or the keyword books. Searching for grey would bring back items containing the keyword grey or the keyword gray. If you want to only search for a specific spelling of a word, simply enter the keyword or phrase in quotes. For example, if you enter "book", your results would include only items with the exact word book and not items with the word books or other alternatives.
Command: Enter the keywords or phrases in quotes.
Example search: "book"
Returns: Only items with the exact word book and not items with the word books.

Your Goal: In some cases, eBay will automatically expand your search to include items based on the intent of your search rather than matching the exact keywords provided. Users do not have to do anything for this functionality to work, as this will only occur automatically in cases of high confidence. If you do not want eBay to do this, then all you need to do is to put quotation marks around one of your keywords, and eBay will match your search keywords exactly without search intelligence. For example, if you were searching for tickets to a rock concert by the artist Madonna, you might type in the keywords MADONNA TICKETS. This may bring back items that have both keywords MADONNA and TICKETS, as well as items that have the keyword MADONNA and are in the Event Tickets category. This should bring back more relevant items of interest to users. To opt out of this functionality, you can enter "MADONNA" TICKETS and your results would include only items with the exact keywords MADONNA TICKETS and not the additional items in the Event Tickets category with only the keyword MADONNA.
Opt Out Command: Enter quotes around any single keyword.
Example search: "Madonna" Tickets
Returns: Only items with the exact word MADONNA and TICKETS.

Why not search and try these commands now?

From here.

Friday, December 17, 2004

GEICO v. Google case comes down


COURT FINDS NO CONFUSION IF COMPETING MARKS ARE 'SPONSORED
LINKS' ON GOOGLE SEARCH PAGE
A search engine's policy of selling trademarks of competing
companies as advertisements, or "sponsored links," on its
search results page does not result in consumer confusion, a
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
found Dec. 15 after hearing evidence on this issue
(Government Employment Insurance Co. v. Google Inc.,E.D.
Va., No. 1:04cv507 (LMB/TCB), trial began 12/13/04).

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bi-Partisan Bumper Sticker:


FINALLY someone has come out with A 100% Bi-Partisan Political Bumper sticker.
The hottest selling bumper sticker comes from New York State:
"2008 - RUN HILLARY RUN"

Democrats put it on the rear bumper.
Republicans put it on the front bumper

Paper







November 23, 2004

THE SOCIAL LIFE OF PAPER
by MALCOLM GLADWELL
Looking for method in the mess.

Issue of 2002-03-25
Posted 2002-03-18

On a busy day, a typical air-traffic controller might be in charge of as many as twenty-five airplanes at a time—some ascending, some descending, each at a different altitude and travelling at a different speed. He peers at a large, monochromatic radar console, tracking the movement of tiny tagged blips moving slowly across the screen. He talks to the sector where a plane is headed, and talks to the pilots passing through his sector, and talks to the other controllers about any new traffic on the horizon. And, as a controller juggles all those planes overhead, he scribbles notes on little pieces of paper, moving them around on his desk as he does. Air-traffic control depends on computers and radar. It also depends, heavily, on paper and ink.

When people talk about the need to modernize the American air-traffic-control system, this is, in large part, what they are referring to. Whenever a plane takes off, the basic data about the flight—the type of plane, the radar I.D. number, the requested altitude, the destination—are printed out on a stiff piece of paper, perhaps one and a half by six and a half inches, known as a flight strip. And as the plane passes through each sector of the airspace the controller jots down, using a kind of shorthand, everything new that is happening to the plane—its speed, say, and where it's heading, clearances from ground control, holding instructions, comments on the pilot. It's a method that dates back to the days before radar, and it drives critics of the air-traffic-control system crazy. Why, in this day and age, are planes being handled like breakfast orders in a roadside diner?

This is one of the great puzzles of the modern workplace. Computer technology was supposed to replace paper. But that hasn't happened. Every country in the Western world uses more paper today, on a per-capita basis, than it did ten years ago. The consumption of uncoated free-sheet paper, for instance—the most common kind of office paper—rose almost fifteen per cent in the United States between 1995 and 2000. This is generally taken as evidence of how hard it is to eradicate old, wasteful habits and of how stubbornly resistant we are to the efficiencies offered by computerization. A number of cognitive psychologists and ergonomics experts, however, don't agree. Paper has persisted, they argue, for very good reasons: when it comes to performing certain kinds of cognitive tasks, paper has many advantages over computers. The dismay people feel at the sight of a messy desk—or the spectacle of air-traffic controllers tracking flights through notes scribbled on paper strips—arises from a fundamental confusion about the role that paper plays in our lives.

The case for paper is made most eloquently in "The Myth of the Paperless Office" (M.I.T.; $24.95), by two social scientists, Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper. They begin their book with an account of a study they conductedat the International Monetary Fund, in Washington, D.C. Economists at the I.M.F. spend most of their time writing reports on complicated economic questions, work that would seem to be perfectly suited to sitting in front of a computer. Nonetheless, the I.M.F. is awash in paper, and Sellen and Harper wanted to find out why. Their answer is that the business of writing reports—at least at the I.M.F.—is an intensely collaborative process, involving the professional judgments and contributions of many people. The economists bring drafts of reports to conference rooms, spread out the relevant pages, and negotiate changes with one other. They go back to their offices and jot down comments in the margin, taking advantage of the freedom offered by the informality of the handwritten note. Then they deliver the annotated draft to the author in person, taking him, page by page, through the suggested changes. At the end of the process, the author spreads out all the pages with comments on his desk and starts to enter them on the computer—moving the pages around as he works, organizing and reorganizing, saving and discarding.

Without paper, this kind of collaborative, iterative work process would be much more difficult. According to Sellen and Harper, paper has a unique set of "affordances"—that is, qualities that permit specific kinds of uses. Paper is tangible: we can pick up a document, flip through it, read little bits here and there, and quickly get a sense of it. (In another study on reading habits, Sellen and Harper observed that in the workplace, people almost never read a document sequentially, from beginning to end, the way they would read a novel.) Paper is spatially flexible, meaning that we can spread it out and arrange it in the way that suits us best. And it's tailorable: we can easily annotate it, and scribble on it as we read, without altering the original text. Digital documents, of course, have their own affordances. They can be easily searched, shared, stored, accessed remotely, and linked to other relevant material. But they lack the affordances that really matter to a group of people working together on a report. Sellen and Harper write:

Because paper is a physical embodiment of information, actions performed in relation to paper are, to a large extent, made visible to one's colleagues. Reviewers sitting around a desk could tell whether a colleague was turning toward or away from a report; whether she was flicking through it or setting it aside. Contrast this with watching someone across a desk looking at a document on a laptop. What are they looking at? Where in the document are they? Are they really reading their e-mail? Knowing these things is important because they help a group co├Ârdinate its discussions and reach a shared understanding of what is being discussed.


Paper enables a certain kind of thinking. Picture, for instance, the top of your desk. Chances are that you have a keyboard and a computer screen off to one side, and a clear space roughly eighteen inches square in front of your chair. What covers the rest of the desktop is probably piles—piles of papers, journals, magazines, binders, postcards, videotapes, and all the other artifacts of the knowledge economy. The piles look like a mess, but they aren't. When a group at Apple Computer studied piling behavior several years ago, they found that even the most disorderly piles usually make perfect sense to the piler, and that office workers could hold forth in great detail about the precise history and meaning of their piles. The pile closest to the cleared, eighteen-inch-square working area, for example, generally represents the most urgent business, and within that pile the most important document of all is likely to be at the top. Piles are living, breathing archives. Over time, they get broken down and resorted, sometimes chronologically and sometimes thematically and sometimes chronologically and thematically; clues about certain documents may be physically embedded in the file by, say, stacking a certain piece of paper at an angle or inserting dividers into the stack.

But why do we pile documents instead of filing them? Because piles represent the process of active, ongoing thinking. The psychologist Alison Kidd, whose research Sellen and Harper refer to extensively, argues that "knowledge workers" use the physical space of the desktop to hold "ideas which they cannot yet categorize or even decide how they might use." The messy desk is not necessarily a sign of disorganization. It may be a sign of complexity: those who deal with many unresolved ideas simultaneously cannot sort and file the papers on their desks, because they haven't yet sorted and filed the ideas in their head. Kidd writes that many of the people she talked to use the papers on their desks as contextual cues to "recover a complex set of threads without difficulty and delay" when they come in on a Monday morning, or after their work has been interrupted by a phone call. What we see when we look at the piles on our desks is, in a sense, the contents of our brains.

Sellen and Harper arrived at similar findings when they did some consulting work with a chocolate manufacturer. The people in the firm they were most interested in were the buyers—the staff who handled the company's relationships with its venders, from cocoa and sugar manufacturers to advertisers. The buyers kept folders (containing contracts, correspondence, meeting notes, and so forth) on every supplier they had dealings with. The company wanted to move the information in those documents online, to save space and money, and make it easier for everyone in the firm to have access to it. That sounds like an eminently rational thing to do. But when Sellen and Harper looked at the folders they discovered that they contained all kinds of idiosyncratic material—advertising paraphernalia, printouts of e-mails, presentation notes, and letters—much of which had been annotated in the margins with thoughts and amendments and, they write, "perhaps most important, comments about problems and issues with a supplier's performance not intended for the supplier's eyes." The information in each folder was organized—if it was organized at all—according to the whims of the particular buyer. Whenever other people wanted to look at a document, they generally had to be walked through it by the buyer who "owned" it, because it simply wouldn't make sense otherwise. The much advertised advantage of digitizing documents—that they could be made available to anyone, at any time—was illusory: documents cannot speak for themselves. "All of this emphasized that most of what constituted a buyer's expertise resulted from involvement with the buyer's own suppliers through a long history of phone calls and meetings," Sellen and Harper write:

The correspondence, notes, and other documents such discussions would produce formed a significant part of the documents buyers kept. These materials therefore supported rather than constituted the expertise of the buyers. In other words, the knowledge existed not so much in the documents as in the heads of the people who owned them—in their memories of what the documents were, in their knowledge of the history of that supplier relationship, and in the recollections that were prompted whenever they went through the files.


This idea that paper facilitates a highly specialized cognitive and social process is a far cry from the way we have historically thought about the stuff. Paper first began to proliferate in the workplace in the late nineteenth century as part of the move toward "systematic management." To cope with the complexity of the industrial economy, managers were instituting company-wide policies and demanding monthly, weekly, or even daily updates from their subordinates. Thus was born the monthly sales report, and the office manual and the internal company newsletter. The typewriter took off in the eighteen-eighties, making it possible to create documents in a fraction of the time it had previously taken, and that was followed closely by the advent of carbon paper, which meant that a typist could create ten copies of that document simultaneously. If you were, say, a railroad company, then you would now have a secretary at the company headquarters type up a schedule every week, setting out what train was travelling in what direction at what time, because in the mid-nineteenth century collisions were a terrible problem. Then the secretary would make ten carbon copies of that schedule and send them out to the stations along your railway line. Paper was important not to facilitate creative collaboration and thought but as an instrument of control.

Perhaps no one embodied this notion more than the turn-of-the-century reformer Melvil Dewey. Dewey has largely been forgotten by history, perhaps because he was such a nasty fellow—an outspoken racist and anti-Semite—but in his day he dominated America's thinking about the workplace. He invented the Dewey decimal system, which revolutionized the organization of libraries. He was an ardent advocate of shorthand and of the metric system, and was so obsessed with time-saving and simplification that he changed his first name from Melville to the more logical Melvil. (He also pushed for the adoption of "catalog" in place of "catalogue," and of "thruway" to describe major highways, a usage that survives to this day in New York State). Dewey's principal business was something called the Library Bureau, which was essentially the Office Depot of his day, selling card catalogues, cabinets, office chairs and tables, pre-printed business forms, and, most important, filing cabinets. Previously, businessmen had stored their documents in cumbersome cases, or folded and labelled the pieces of paper and stuck them in the pigeonholes of the secretary desks so common in the Victorian era. What Dewey proposed was essentially an enlarged version of a card catalogue, where paper documents hung vertically in long drawers.

The vertical file was a stunning accomplishment. In those efficiency-obsessed days, it prompted books and articles and debates and ended up winning a gold medal at the 1893 World's Fair, because it so neatly addressed the threat of disorder posed by the proliferation of paper. What good was that railroad schedule, after all, if it was lost on someone's desk? Now a railroad could buy one of Dewey's vertical filing cabinets, and put the schedule under "S," where everyone could find it. In "Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age" (Arcade; $24.95), the computer scientist David M. Levy argues that Dewey was the anti-Walt Whitman, and that his vision of regularizing and standardizing life ended up being just as big a component of the American psyche as Whitman's appeal to embrace the world just as it is. That seems absolutely right. The fact is, the thought of all those memos and reports and manuals made Dewey anxious, and that anxiety has never really gone away, even in the face of evidence that paper is no longer something to be anxious about.

When Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, for example, how did he imagine it would be used? As a dictation device that a businessman could pass around the office in place of a paper memo. In 1945, the computer pioneer Vannevar Bush imagined what he called a "memex"—a mechanized library and filing cabinet, on which an office worker would store all his relevant information without the need for paper files at all. So, too, with the information-technology wizards who have descended on the workplace in recent years. Instead of a real desktop, they have offered us the computer desktop, where cookie-cutter icons run in orderly rows across a soothing background, implicitly promising to bring order to the chaos of our offices.

Sellen and Harper include in their book a photograph of an office piled high with stacks of paper. The occupant of the office—a researcher in Xerox's European research facility—was considered neither ineffective nor inefficient. Quite the contrary: he was, they tell us, legendary in being able to find any document in his office very quickly. But the managers of the laboratory were uncomfortable with his office because of what it said about their laboratory. They were, after all, an organization looking to develop digital workplace solutions. "They wanted to show that this was a workplace reaching out to the future rather than being trapped in an inefficient past," Sellen and Harper write. "Yet, if this individual's office was anything to go by, the reality was that this workplace of the future was full of paper." Whenever senior colleagues came by the office, then, the man with the messy desk was instructed to put his papers in boxes and hide them under the stairs. The irony is, of course, that it was not the researcher who was trapped in an inefficient past but the managers. They were captives of the nineteenth-century notion that paper was most useful when it was put away. They were channelling Melvil Dewey. But this is a different era. In the tasks that face modern knowledge workers, paper is most useful out in the open, where it can be shuffled and sorted and annotated and spread out. The mark of the contemporary office is not the file. It's the pile.

Air-traffic controllers are quintessential knowledge workers. They perform a rarefied version of the task faced by the economists at the I.M.F. when they sit down at the computer with the comments and drafts of five other people spread around them, or the manager when she gets to her office on Monday morning, looks at the piles of papers on her desk, and tries to make sense of all the things she has to do in the coming week. When an air-traffic controller looks at his radar, he sees a two-dimensional picture of where the planes in his sector are. But what he needs to know is where his planes will be. He has to be able to take the evidence from radar, what he hears from the pilots and other controllers, and what he has written down on the flight strips in front of him, and construct a three-dimensional "picture" of all the planes in his sector. Psychologists call the ability to create that mental picture "situation awareness." "Situation awareness operates on three levels," says Mica Endsley, the president of S.A. Technologies, in Georgia, and perhaps the country's leading expert on the subject. "One is perceiving. Second is understanding what the information means—analogous to reading comprehension. That's where you or I would have problems. We'd see the blips on the screen, and it wouldn't mean anything to us. The highest level, though, is projection—the ability to predict which aircraft are coming in and when. You've got to be able to look into the future, probably by as much as five minutes."

Psychologists believe that those so-called flight strips play a major role in helping controllers achieve this situation awareness. Recently, for example, Wendy Mackay, a computer scientist now working in Paris, spent several months at an air-traffic-control facility near Orly Airport, in Paris. The French air-traffic-control system is virtually identical to the American system. One controller, the planning controller, is responsible for the radar. He has a partner, whose job is to alert the radar controller to incoming traffic, and what Mackay observed was how beautifully the strips enable efficient interaction between these two people. The planning controller, for instance, overhears what his partner is saying on the radio, and watches him annotate strips. If he has a new strip, he might keep it just out of his partner's visual field until it is relevant. "She [the planner] moves it into his peripheral view if the strip should be dealt with soon, but not immediately," Mackay writes. "If the problem is urgent, she will physically move it into his focal view, placing the strip on top of the stripboard or, rarely, inserting it."

Those strips moving in and out of the peripheral view of the controller serve as cognitive cues, which the controller uses to help keep the "picture" of his sector clear in his head. When taking over a control position, controllers touch and rearrange the strips in front of them. When they are given a new strip, they are forced mentally to register a new flight and the new traffic situation. By writing on the strips, they can off-load information, keeping their minds free to attend to other matters. The controller's flight strips are like the piles of paper on a desk: they are the physical manifestations of what goes on inside his head. Is it any wonder that the modernization of the air-traffic-control system has taken so long? No one wants to do anything that might disrupt that critical mental process.

This is, of course, a difficult conclusion for us to accept. Like the managers of the office-technology lab, we have in our heads the notion that an air-traffic-control center ought to be a pristine and gleaming place, full of the latest electronic gadgetry. We think of all those flight strips as cluttering and confusing the work of the office, and we fret about where all that paper will go. But, as Sellen and Harper point out, we needn't worry. It is only if paper's usefulness is in the information written directly on it that it must be stored. If its usefulness lies in the promotion of ongoing creative thinking, then, once that thinking is finished, the paper becomes superfluous. The solution to our paper problem, they write, is not to use less paper but to keep less paper. Why bother filing at all? Everything we know about the workplace suggests that few if any knowledge workers ever refer to documents again once they have filed them away, which should come as no surprise, since paper is a lousy way to archive information. It's too hard to search and it takes up too much space. Besides, we all have the best filing system ever invented, right there on our desks—the personal computer. That is the irony of the P.C.: the workplace problem that it solves is the nineteenth-century anxiety. It's a better filing cabinet than the original vertical file, and if Dewey were alive today, he'd no doubt be working very happily in an information-technology department somewhere. The problem that paper solves, by contrast, is the problem that most concerns us today, which is how to support knowledge work. In fretting over paper, we have been tripped up by a historical accident of innovation, confused by the assumption that the most important invention is always the most recent. Had the computer come first—and paper second—no one would raise an eyebrow at the flight strips cluttering our air-traffic-control centers.


XML Topic Maps (XTM) 1.0 TopicMaps.Org Specification



XML Topic Maps (XTM) 1.0:

1. Introduction


1.1 Origins


XML Topic Maps (XTM) is a product of the TopicMaps.Org Authoring Group (AG), formed in 2000 by an independent consortium named TopicMaps.Org, originally chaired by Michel Biezunski and Steven R. Newcomb {both now at Coolheads Consulting}, and chaired at the date of delivery of this specification by Steve Pepper and Graham Moore. The Participating Members of the XTM Authoring Group are listed in Annex H: Acknowledgements.

The origins of the topic maps paradigm itself date back to 1993, when it was first expressed as a working document in the context of the Davenport Group. The paradigm was more fully developed thereafter in the context of the GCA Research Institute (now known as IDEAlliance), in an activity called Conventions for the Application of HyTime, during and after which the paradigm was independently developed, implemented, and promulgated. Early in 2000, after several years of continuous effort by an international group of individuals, the topic map paradigm was fully formalized for the first time as an ISO International Standard, ISO/IEC 13250:2000. Almost immediately thereafter, TopicMaps.Org was founded in order to develop the applicability of the paradigm to the World Wide Web, and to realize its enormous potential to improve the findability and manageability of information.

1.2 Goals


The design goals for XTM are:


  1. XTM shall be straightforwardly usable over the Internet.

  2. XTM shall support a wide variety of applications.

  3. XTM shall be compatible with XML, XLink, and ISO 13250.

  4. It shall be easy to write programs that process XTM documents.

  5. The number of optional features in XTM is to be kept to the absolute
    minimum, ideally zero.

  6. XTM documents should be human-legible and reasonably clear.

  7. The XTM design should be prepared quickly.

  8. The design of XTM shall be formal and concise.

  9. XTM documents shall be easy to create.

  10. Terseness in XTM markup is of minimal importance.



This specification, together with XML 1.0 for markup syntax [XML], XLink 1.0 for linking syntax [XLink], XML Base for base URI resolution [XML Base], and the IETF URI specification [RFC 2396] (as updated by [RFC 2732]), provides all the information necessary to understand XTM 1.0 and create conforming topic map documents.
This version of the XTM specification and its associated materials may be distributed freely, as long as all text and legal notices remain intact.

Jason Blair, call your office


The New York Times Code of Ethics: "The New York Times

Ethical Journalism Guidebook "

No, Mr. Wisenheimer, it is not an oxymoron.
Meatball Wiki: SeedWiki
Talk here about SeedWiki and lnks for other wikifarms.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I wonder if these links will work



Caption:
LONDON - DECEMBER 12: (UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS OUT) Singer Kylie Minogue performs on stage for the Radio 1 Christmas Party on December 12, 2004 at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
People: Kylie Minogue
Copyright: 2004 Getty Images
By/Title: Dave Hogan/Staff
Date Created: 12 Dec 2004 12:00 AM
City, State, Country: London, , United Kingdom
Credit: Getty Images
Collection: Getty Images Entertainment
Source: Getty Images Europe
Date Submitted: 12 Dec 2004 08:51 PM
File Size/Pixels/DPI: 862K/3000x1453/300

Keywords: skirt microphone, One Person, Performing, Dress, Stage, Full Length

Orientation: Vertical
Object Name: 51844485DHN215_show

Restrictions: (UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS OUT)
Release Information: No release.
Note: All editorial images subject to the following: For editorial use only. Additional clearance required for commercial, wireless, internet or promotional use, contact your local office. NO NBA, F.A. PREMIER LEAGUE IMAGES MAY BE DOWNLOADED OR USED WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION. AFP IMAGES ARE SUBJECT TO TERRITORIAL RESTRICTIONS. Images may not be altered or modified. Getty Images makes no representations or warranties regarding names, trademarks or logos appearing in the images. See Editorial License Agreement or contact your local office.
Decibel Designs.com
CD Storage Cabinets

CD Cabinet |Bookcase |Stereo Cabinet |Home Theater

Black, Natural Oak or Maple, and Light Brown Oak. Made in the U.S.A.
These are the same high quality cd cabinet designs we wholesale to our furniture store accounts.
Most of our business is from return customers!
Click any photo for details

Using a Wiki for Documentation and Collaborative Authoring


By Michael Angeles

Michael Angeles is an information specialist at Lucent Technologies. He
can be contacted via his home page and weblog at http://urlgreyhot.com

Published November 28, 2004

Introduction

Documentation may help to ensure efficiency, continuity and consistency in library operations. Library technical staff might consider the use of collaborative publishing software for documenting their internal processes and procedures. Wiki software for collaborative web publishing has emerged as one of the viable and inexpensive options to consider for maintaining group documentation. There are many inexpensive or free Wiki packages at our disposal and while they may not necessarily bend to meet our every requirement, with a little work can serve many of our needs.


A Good Fit

I had my first experience using a Wiki for project documentation when I participated in the formation of a professional association. The group was geographically dispersed, and after our first face-to-face meetings, it became clear that we needed a platform to supplement our email meetings and conference calls. We quickly set up a Wiki, and it became everything from the white board to . . .

Bloggers Beware: Debunking Eight Copyright Myths of the Online World


By Kathy Biehl

Kathy Biehl advises authors, businesses and Website developers on issues of copyright protection and use. LLRX.com’s After Hours and Research Roundup columnist and co-author of The Lawyer’s Guide to Internet Research, she is an attorney licensed to practice in New Jersey. and Texas.

Published November 28, 2004

Misinformation has a way of taking root online and turning into virtual kudzu. Some species, such as the NPR petition and other e-mail hoaxes that will not die, are merely an annoyance. Others, however, are actively molding behavior. And the misinformation that’s flying around about copyright is encouraging people to do things that are not merely illegal, but potentially extremely costly. . . .

Monday, December 13, 2004

Congressional Information Service



From Rick McKinney at the Federal Reserve Board: If you have the CIS number you can order hearing from LexisNexis' Congressional Information Service which provides offprints of documents from three of its CIS microfiche collections

-CIS Microfiche Library, covering publications of the United States Congress

-ASI Microfiche Library, covering statistical publication of the United States Government

-Environment Abstracts, covering environmental science articles from a wide range of journals and other sources.

http://www.lexisnexis.com/academic/3cis/offprints.asp
here

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A letter to the weekly Standard

A Source is a Source, of Course, of Course


I like a free press. It is essential. But there are two aspects to the so-called Reporter's Privilege that seem to me very problematic. Confusing a purported right to withhold evidence with a free press is fallacious.

First, in the existing legitimate and well-settled evidentiary privileges--clergy-parishioner, psychotherapist-client, accountant-client, attorney-client, abortion clinic-patient, librarian-patron, etc.--there is a client relationship. The client is the employer of the professional person and the client owns the privilege. The professional advisor has no right and no choice whether or not to waive the privilege without the client's consent. The professional is extended an ethical right to withhold evidence in order to ensure that the professional's loyalty and fidelity to the client is paramount and to solely to serve the client, no other master.

The professional is accredited and answerable to a government (as with a doctor, lawyer, pharmacist, psychologist, accountant, government librarian) or an independent sanctioning association (as with church, congregation, archdiocese) which has the ability to punish, correct, or suspend or revoke a license to kick out the professional from his profession. I don't know that any reporter has been fired or sued or otherwise punished for revealing sources, although it may have happened

Mrs. Gingrich, Newt's mother, has no recourse to the government, a court, or a professional association to punish Connie Chung for violating her confidence, for divulging her "privileged" communication. An attorney could be disbarred. A clergyman could be defrocked. An accountant could lose his license, plus any of them would be subject to civil damages in a lawsuit.

The problem with this model is that the journalists claim the privilege belongs to them and that they alone have the choice to protect it or divulge it without any reference to a client or to the source. The source is not even consulted and is unknown. A privilege (or right) without responsibility (or accountability) is merely a license to frame, defame, and fabricate, isn't it?

Any professional can violate his privilege when called to do so by a higher ethical call, but that person, whether he be an attorney, accountant, intelligence agent, soldier or mafia bag man does so accepting the reasonably foreseeable consequences of his choice. Gordon Liddy, John Mitchell, and Mr. McCord couldn't legally keep a secret, but no one knows who Deep Throat is, 35 years after the event.

Second: What is a "reporter?" Which people in our society are given a choice to withhold evidence under the so -called journalist privilege without being answerable for obstruction of justice? Is Matt Drudge a journalist? Who decides who is a journalist?

Dan Rather discovered that any accredited journalist can be scooped and discredited by someone without a police-issued Press Card or without being employed by a "media organization," whatever that is. Is a blogger a journalist? I'm a blogger. Is a historian a journalist? Is Michael Moore or David McCullough a journalist who possesses a privilege not to divulge sources when ordered by a judge? I expect Mr. McCullough might not like to be lumped in with broadcast reporters but if he can get a privilege out of it to withhold his sources and conceal information from a court of law, or an academic review panel, he might jump at the chance. How do scholars remain answerable and accountable to peer review and academic honesty if they are asserting a reporter's privilege? Who belongs to the privileged class of people called "reporters" and who says so?

Would Mr. Rather be entitled to divulge his source in his own defense if sued for defamation or some sort of fraud under the superscript case? Or would he be barred from presenting that evidence because he or his producer had pledged never to reveal his source to a source who tricked him? Is it real or voluntary?

The special treatment that the press gets with regard to defamation and libel affixes to the target or subject of the defamation. The critical element is whether the target is a "public person" or not, like General Westmoreland, Oliver North or OJ Simpson, not the status of the journalist or publisher of the utterance.

By analogy, the Second Amendment guarantees a "right," but it has been held that that right is subject to regulation through the issuance of licenses, background checks and specific restrictions (no guns in the post office, no guns in the Capitol, no guns in a sporting event, no guns in the high school, what guns are forbidden to all and what ones to some). The press as a class has never made much complaint of these limitations and restrictions. In fact they have on balance advocated them.

These are big problems, I think, and I can see no way to have a genuine privilege without some sort of sanctioning board or government license. How does that align with a Free Press? I don't think it is possible to leave the sole discretion of whether or not to reveal a source without the clout of government sanction to the reporter himself, or herself, if you insist. Matt Drudge, Jason Blair, Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper (yes, Robert Novak, too) can say whatever they want, but they still need to be able to back it up if there is a challenge. Everyone else does.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Yahoo Adding Tool to Search Hard Drives


My Way News: "Both Yahoo and X1 contend it makes sense to maintain a dividing line between hard-drive search and Web search because one quest focuses on recovering old information while the other strives to discover new information.

'It's kind of like looking for information that you know exists and looking for information that you think might exist somewhere out there,' said X1 president Josh Jacobs."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Court-Packing Defeated By Heat Wave




A very nice historical study pof the FDR court packing controversy is found here.

New Search Engine for business


New business search engine launches
by Anita Jain
Accoona Corp., based in Jersey City, N.J., has launched an Internet search engine that uses artificial intelligence to produce search results.

The first search on Accoona.com was inaugurated Monday evening by former President Bill Clinton at Tavern on the Green in Manhattan. Accoona donated an undisclosed amount to the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Accoona.com will feature business data from 5 million Chinese companies and 10 million U.S. companies, and ultimately from European companies as well. The company received $15 million in angel investment earlier this year and expects to generate between $10 million and $20 million in revenues in its first year of operation. It expects to break even in the first year as well. A big boost for the search engine comes from a tie-up with China Daily Information Co., a government agency that runs an official Chinese and English news site. The agency has agreed to include a toolbar on its home-page portal for 20 years. The Chinese government is one of Accoona’s backers.

From here

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

PATENT, TRADEMARK & COPYRIGHT LAW DAILY


Tuesday, December 7, 2004
ISSN 1535-1610

Lead Report

Trademarks
Counsel Previews Issues in Upcoming Trial
On Google Sale of Trademarks to Trigger Ads



Sale of trademarks as search terms to drive Internet traffic to third-party advertisers constitutes trademark infringement and dilution, according to a lawyer for an insurance company that will challenge such practices by the Google search engine in a trial in Virginia's "rocket docket" beginning Dec. 13.
In an address at the 15th Annual PTO Day conference in Washington, D.C., Charles D. Ossola said he will try to persuade the court that Web users are confused when they see the famed "Geico" mark in competitors' ads.

Ossola noted that Government Employees Insurance Co., or Geico, initially filed suit May 4 against Google in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, challenging Google's "Adwords" advertising program. Government Employees Insurance Co. v. Google Inc., E.D. Va., No. 1:01cv507, 5/4/04. Geico has asked for a permanent injunction, attorneys' fees, and damages.

Geico's principal claim is that by auctioning off the Geico mark as a search term or key word to third-party advertisers, Google is creating "initial interest confusion," Ossola said. This is because the advertisers use the Geico mark to generate "sponsored" listings for their own products and services.

Consumers are diverted to the sponsored listings and when they click on those listings, they are likely to be deceived into believing that they will be provided with information about Geico's auto insurance policies, Google's complaint charges. In fact, however, the sponsored listings provide no information about Geico's policies. By this deceitful conduct, the complaint alleges, Google and Overture are intentionally infringing and diluting the GEICO marks.

To establish trademark infringement, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant's use of the mark constitutes a "use in commerce." Google moved for dismissal for failure to state a claim, arguing that the sale of Geico's mark as a keyword for triggering online advertisements does not constitute a use in commerce under trademark law.

Known for its quick disposition of civil cases, the court by the end of August had rejected Google's motion to dismiss, Ossola told the conferees. In a later bench order, he noted, the court denied Google's motion for summary judgment.


Surveys Show Customer Confusion

At issue in next week's trial, Ossola said, is whether such use of the Geico mark is actionable as trademark infringement and dilution. Geico will provide survey evidence showing that there is customer confusion and that Google's practices are the cause of it, he said.
By denying Google's motion to dismiss, Ossola noted, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema found Geico's allegations of infringement and dilution sufficient to state a claim. In its later denial of Google's motion for summary judgment, the court rebuffed its assertion that Geico's survey evidence showed an insufficient connection between the challenged use of Geico's mark and consumer confusion, he added. Judge Brinkema also refused then to rule as a matter a law that there was no trademark dilution and no damages to Geico, Ossola observed.

Ossola said that one of Google's defenses is that Geico somehow benefits from Google's practices because the keyword searches that they enable also generate genuine, "organic" listings for Geico whose value outweighs any harm Geico may suffer from the sponsored listings that normally appear on the right side of the Web screen. However, Geico will argue that thousands of users who would otherwise go to Geico are diverted to the third-party sites because of the Google system, and that this use of Geico's mark leads to both consumer confusion and a blurring of the distinctiveness of the Geico mark, Ossola said.

According to Ossola, Google is also likely to assert that its use of the Geico mark is analogous to comparative advertising, and that any harm that Geico may be suffering from the competitors' listings cannot be attributed to trademark infringement.


Closely Watched Case

Ossola stressed that this is not an Internet "pop-up" ad or "metatag" case, although Judge Brinkema looked to some of those cases for guidance in her earlier rulings.
However, Ossola said that the outcome of this "closely watched" case will be important to Google and its advertisers, Ossola predicted. Even though Google also enables searches with nontrademark key words, he said, its auctioning off of trademarks for such searches is "not an insignificant part" Google's business.

Google's Adwords advertising program is a significant source of revenue for the search engine and for the sponsored advertisers, Ossola said. Indeed, since larger bids get a higher ranking among the sponsored listings generated by a search, there is strong competition among advertisers for those more favorable positions.

The case will also have implications for trademark owners embroiled in similar disputes, Ossola suggested. "This is the first of many tests," he predicted.

One such test is pending in California: in September, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California heard arguments in Google's motion to dismiss a claim by a wallpaper manufacturer challenging Google's sale of its marks to advertisers as keywords to lure customers to competing manufacturers. Google Inc. v. American Blind & Wallpaper Factory Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 5:03-cv-5340, hearing 9/17/04.



Copyright © 2004, The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.