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4 November, 2002

Fun at the U.S. Patent And Trademark Center

Have you ever done time at the massive U.S. Patent and Trademark Center web site?

It's certainly not the most entertaining web site available, but dig around a bit and you can find some interesting things. For example, I searched for all trademarks owned by Microsoft. It returned a list of 1,115 records, sorted by date. Microsoft does not have this many trademarked names -- many of the items are duplicates.

Just a few interesting tidbits:

  • The most recent trademark is for MARINE MANIA(tm) (a game). This was filed in April, 2002. Most of the more recent trademarks seem to be game-related. It's not clear how up-to-date the listings are.
  • The oldest trademark, filed in April, 1982, is SOFTCARD(tm) (hardware for Apple computers). Three months later, MULTIPLAN(tm) was filed. MultiPlan(tm) was Microsoft's first spreadsheet product, a precursor to Excel
  • WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TODAY(tm) was filed in July, 1994.
  • In July and August, 2000, there are quite a few filings for the phrases YOUR POTENTIAL, OUR PASSION(tm) and YOUR POTENTIAL IS OUR PASSION(tm). Interestingly, a Google search for these phrases returns no results. Apparently, this was a slogan idea slogan that never made it to prime time.
  • Many ".NET" filings occurred in June, 2000: ACCESS.NET(tm), WORD.NET(tm), EXCEL.NET(tm), OFFICE.NET(tm), MSN.NET(tm), EXCHANGE.NET(tm), PASSPORT.NET(tm), etc.
  • Microsoft Bob(tm) has been described as Microsoft's most embarrassing product. BOB(tm) was filed in October, 1994. In the following month, the graphic below was filed.

Posted on 4 November, 2002

Online CD Sales Continue to Fall

According an article at Internet Wire (citing data from comScore Networks), online sales of recorded music continues to decline.


Most of the news sources that have picked up this story focus on a single potential cause for the sales decline: Internet file-swapping and CD burning. I'd like to suggest a few other contributing factors:

  • The artistic quality of current popular music is probably at an all-time low.
  • CDs are over-priced. To understand why this is so, compare the price/content of a music CD with a DVD.
  • Consumer have a limited entertainment budget. When given options such as DVDs and video games, CD sales can be expected to decline significantly.
  • The legal channels that allow consumers to purchase and download music sell only DRM-crippled files.
  • Many people (myself included) are fed up with the music industry's bitching and moaning, and have stopped buying new CDs.

Posted on 4 November, 2002

Get a New Shirt, Only $1.00

It's a good deal. But you have to make it yourself.

Posted on 4 November, 2002

Earth at Night

This photo of the Earth at night has been around for quite a while, but it never fails to impress me.

Here's another favorite, which you may have seen: Two deer in a river, with a forest fire blazing in the background.

For more mind-boggling images, go to the Astronomy Picture of the Day web site.

Posted on 4 November, 2002

The 'Song Stuck in Your Head' Syndrome

Last year, the LA Times published a list of the top songs that get stuck in people's heads. I can't find the original article, but I saved the song titles for future reference:

  1. "It's a Small World After All"
  2. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
  3. "My Sharona"
  4. "If You're Happy and You Know It..."
  5. "The Macarena"
  6. "I'm a Little Teacup"
  7. "Gilligan's Island" theme
  8. The Chili's baby-back ribs jingle
  9. Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture"
  10. Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler"
  11. "YMCA"
  12. "I'm a Pepper, You're a Pepper..."
  13. Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"
  14. "Flintstones" theme
  15. "The Andy Griffith Show" theme
  16. "The Odd Couple" theme
  17. "Follow the Yellow Brick Road"
  18. "We Will Rock You"
  19. "Mission: Impossible"
  20. "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Posted on 4 November, 2002

Click-Through EULAs

SlashDot has an item about the click-through license agreement at the American Airlines web site (here's link to AA's Terms and Conditions). I haven't counted them, but the piece claims that the EULA has 3,482 words.

I normally keep active scripting turned off in my browser. With no scripting, AA's Terms and Conditions display as a single right-justified paragraph that is virtually impossible to read. On second thought, it's virtually impossible to read even when it's nicely formatted -- and I think that's the point. If you don't care to read it, here's a quick synopsis:

American Airlines has all of the rights. You have none. If you send us something, we will not hold it confidential. And we can change this Agreement at any time. Ha-ha!

Posted on 4 November, 2002