Archive: May 17, 2005

<<< May 16, 2005


May 18, 2005 >>>

As the laptop turns - episode 13

Tuesday,  05/17/05  11:34 PM

This is it!  The finale to the saga of my laptop troubles...  (Start here, or links to 2, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, 4.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4)  Here is episode 13...

-----Original Message-----
From: Ole Eichhorn []
Friday, April 29, 20058:34 AM
Subject: episode 13 - as the laptop turns

This is the final episode of as the laptop turns.  All great sagas must come to an end.

Our story has a happy ending!  (Good for me, bad for the story.)  Yesterday the DVD recorder arrived without a hitch.  I plugged it in and immediately made a 3.5GB DVD-R without problems.  (A stand-alone ImageServer / WebViewer demo for carrying into Fry’s and CircuitCityand Best Buy, so I can test tablet PCs.  But I digress.)

So at the end of the day, two months and countless phone calls and emails later, I have to say HP really came through.  Their reputation for excellent field service is well deserved.  We’re already using HP in our customers’ systems for servers and workstations, and for high-res monitors.  As we need to buy new equipment for our own use we should really use HP – especially laptops, which are finicky and which generally cause “must fix immediately” emergencies when they break.

We want Aperio to have a reputation for excellent service among our customers, and it is instructive that this reputation comes from attitude and follow-through, not necessarily from doing everything right.  HP didn’t do everything right – in fact, one of their field engineers turned a working laptop with a loose connection into a smoking collection of parts – but they ended up delighting their customer (me) by caring, and making it right in the end.


P.S. Does HP make tablet PCs?  Oh, they do!

The end - thanks for tuning in!


Tort reform now!

Tuesday,  05/17/05  11:45 PM

I just read something which boils my blood, and needed to share it.


When private parties prevail upon the court system to settle a dispute, is called a “tort”.  The U.S. tort system is badly in need of reform.

Currently in a tort each side hires lawyers, makes their case, and the court rules.  In the event either party doesn’t like the ruling, they can appeal, and each side hires more lawyers, makes their case, and the appeals court rules.  This can be bubbled all the way up to the Supreme Court if both parties haven’t run out of money.  In addition to ruling on the matter under dispute, the court can also assign damages to either party.  Very rarely does the losing party have to pay the winner’s legal costs.  And this is the fundamental problem.

Because there is no liability for legal costs, anyone can bring a suit against anyone else with impunity.  In many cases the plaintiff don’t even have to pay their own lawyers, because their lawyers will take a case on contingency.  This means they’ll take a percentage of the settlement.  Most suits are settled “out of court” even when there is no basis for them, because fighting a suit is so expensive.  The lawyers will get paid no matter what.

The solution is simple; make each party responsible for the other party’s legal fees.  This would strongly discourage people from filing suits without merit, because they would be taking a substantial financial risk.  This single change to the U.S. tort system would transform the entire landscape, not merely for patent disputes, but for product liability, organization negligence, etc.  Right now when someone in the U.S. suffers any kind of misfortune, their immediate instinct is to sue someone, and with small effort they’ll probably find to find a lawyer to take their case.  This change would greatly reduce the number of frivolous suits which get filed.  In case you wonder whether this change would have horrible consequences, this has been the way torts have worked in Western European countries since time zero.

We’ve all read about the guy who committed murder in a McDonalds, then sued McDonalds alleging their food made him do it.  Or the student at Columbia who failed a class, then sued her professor and the University for causing pain and suffering.  Or the woman who was awarded $2M because she hurt her back opening a pickle jar.  Or the burglar who sued the owner of a house he broke into, because he cut himself on a broken window.  How about the drum majorette who was cut from the spirit squad, and sued the High School for violating her civil right to perform?  I’m no fan of cigarette smoking, but if you choose to smoke, should you then sue tobacco companies when you get lung cancer?  Recently there have been lawsuits filed by fat people against food companies for making them fat.  It goes on and on.

I am not pro-lawyer or anti-lawyer, I am pro-tort-reform.  And you should be as well.  If you have a chance to support candidates who are pro-tort-reform, take it.  This single issue is hurting U.S. business productivity more than any other.  It affects the price of our products and reduces our global competitiveness.  It is not a stretch to say this one issue has more leverage over our average quality of life than any other.


Oh, the thing which boiled my blood?  Remember Rachel Corrie, the young woman who was run over by an Israeli bulldozer in Palestine, while protesting on behalf of refugees?  Her parents are suing Caterpillar for knowingly selling a bulldozer that could endanger lives.  I am not making this up.

P.S. TangoMan agrees, and suggests this was Darwinism in action.


Tuesday,  05/17/05  11:52 PM

BW: Better Weapons in the Cancer War.  Interesting article, but they don't mention ScanScopes!  They will. 

Iowahawk is a great satire site; they outdid themselves with this one: The Lutefisk Jihad.  There's just something funny about lutefisk, I don't know.  Of course there's very little funny about jihad.  [ via LGF

Glenn Reynolds thinks the Newsweek Toiletgate affair is a tipping point for mainstream media.  I would have thought it was Rathergate, but he may be right.  Surely Newsweek's retraction came much faster than CBS'. 

Sometimes the satire is tough to distinguish from reality, consider College Profs denouce Western culture, move to caves.  [ via GNXP

This is kind of cool; there's this site,, a discount travel site.  Essentially if you wait until "the last minute" to buy tickets, you can get them really cheap (because they're about to be worth $0).  So the site has a link in the upper corner: "The boss is watching, look busy".  It takes you to a page that looks like an Excel spreadsheet, filled with some awesome buzzword bingo.  "Target leading-edge web-readiness."  I love it. 

Revenge of the Sith opens tomorrow.  I don't care if it is good, or bad, I'm going to see it.  And you are too.  Of course I don't want it to be bad, but after Attack of the Clones my expectations are very low.  How much suspense can there be in a movie where we knew the ending 25 years ago?  Anthony Lane's review in New Yorker is an artful skewering; he didn't think much of it.  It's worth reading for the flames alone: "The general opinion of 'Revenge of the Sith' seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, 'The Phantom Menace' and 'Attack of the Clones.'  True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion."  Ouch, put a bandaid on that cut!  [ via Tim Bray

Mark Cuban does it again: Yahoo forces RIAA staff cutbacks.  Essentially, since Yahoo is now offering unlimited music for $5/month, the recording industry cannot claim that online piracy hurts them any more than $5/month.  Tough to poke a hole in that argument, unless Yahoo is operating at a loss and paying more than they take in (which is possible). 

The Horse's Mouth posted a great picture.  It's a mouth, but not a horse.  Click through for a bigger pic. 

You can use Tivo's Home Media toolkit to link Google Maps!  And Keyhole!  Wow.  This might be the last straw, I probably need to get a Series 2.  [ via Matt Haughey

[Later: This might be a dancing bear (cool but not useful).  But it is cool!]

Tim Oren explains the Tech Industry: Addicted to Buzz.  "Buzz phrases and their attendant theories are a bit like drugs.  Taken in moderation, they can be beneficial to your business analysis and model.  Butbeware of quacks."  At least, that explains the investor side of the tech industry :)  (Tim is a VC.) 

When your power tool is too powerful (link to movie).  Great ad for Milwaukee Power Tools.  [ via Greg Crandall ] 

The world's longest error message?  Courtesy of .NET.  In its own way, impressive. 




Return to the archive.