Monday, August 21, 2006

'Art Of The Start' & Getting Trademark Approved By USPTO

Guy Kawasaki is a well known VC, author, former Apple Fellow, Mac evangelist, and many other things. I have known him by email for a decade and had a delightful meeting with him a few weeks ago. He writes a really interesting and educational blog, for anyone wanting to succeed, to do a new business, start a new company, and his book ART OF THE START is a great way for entrepreneurs or people starting ANYTHING new to do the best job they can. (DISCLAIMER: I have the honor of being mentioned in the credits of the book, and Guy did send me a free copy then, but I also bought some later and gave to friends. You really should get a copy.)

Anyway, one of the topics that Guy wrote about in his blog was getting Trademark protection from the US Patent and Trademark Office. I had just gone through a bit of an experience on that, so I shared it with his readers. I wrote:

"Just because you did a good search and found valid examples of trademarks that should enable you to corner a particular type of phrase, the trademark office is stupidly inconsistent.

I have a file open there right now, and had them reject (or demand to change/agree to release exclusive claim to) a set of words that NO ONE else is using in their marks AND the USPTO has issued similar TYPES of phrase for others.

e.g. I wanted "Secretary On Demand", for my service, they refused, but ONLY cited magazine articles citing words like "outsourced help when needed", "help available on demand" etc.

Despite my insistence, the examiner who called me was unable to give an answer for why they had no problem issuing "FUEL ON DEMAND" as a trademark (and many other such examples)! Isn't EVERY gas station in the world providing fuel on demand? She could not answer that. Doh.

Inconsistency, thy name is USPTO."

A few days later, I got the expected note from the USPTO (whose examiner had been very polite and courteous when I spoke to her on the phone) telling me why they would not allow my application as is, though they gave even more generic names to other companies. That in itself was not unusual. What annoyed me was that during this time, the USPTO shamlessly sells my name and information to patent attorneys and other purveyors of services, who, for a few thousand Dollars, will probably get approval for me what I, as a law-abiding, rule-following applicant was refused.

Growing up in Pakistan I recall how government departments would have complex policies forcing people to find "middlemen" to pay to get things done. That sleazy practice is best seen at work in NY's (and I am sure other states') traffic courts (e.g. in one place you have to show up like 5 AM to get a chance to get IN just to get a chance to be heard... )

AND even before terror alerts, they did not allow cell phones OR laptops, basically ensuring that no one with precious time would want to go through the process. Not surprisingly, right outside reps of Traffic Court attorneys were handing out cards. I recall, I had actually been pulled over and ticketed ( hare Nassau county cops) for "missing a yield sign" half a mile from where the cop pulled me over.

A few days later I happened to go by the area and realized... there was NO yield sign at that spot. I had been falsely ticketed. Yet, I had to go to court with the photo to prove that. I got there at 8 AM and found 200 people ahead of me, and was told, no laptop, no cell phone and I had to stand in the sun waiting to get INSIDE and would most likely have to wait until 5 PM or so.

Frustrated, I took a lawyer's card, called him, sent him the info, and after giving my credit card number, I waited. A few weeks later, I got a letter confirming that my ticket had been thrown out... and that simple act of justice cost me nearly $300 in attorney fees, not to mention time and hassle of having one to stand in line that first day. Who knows how that $300 got divided up.. I am sure the attorneys don't give the judge $150 to do what they would have done anyway, had I stood there 10 hours waiting for my turn.

I would not be surprised if this nefarious system works with the government departments making it impossible for people to get justice or action, and grudgingly paying hundreds of Dollars to the lawyers, who probably spend some of that money wining and dining the officials, or playing Golf with them....

At least, to the credit of Pakistanis, they cut out these middlemen. You pay the "baksheesh" directly and get the work done working straight with the damned judge or bureaucrat. Saves time for everyone without enriching the lawyers, doesn't it.

What do you think? Do you have an example of how the system is designed for citizens to be forced feed a nefarious system based on backdoor dealmakers?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lawless, Warrantless, Clueless, Hopeless Bush Wiretapping Illegal

Just this minute I heard the incredibly wonderful news that made me proud to be an American.

Our founding fathers, while probably worried in their graves about the grave future of our nation under Bush ("The Decider" "The UnderTaker"?), must be smiling to finally see the judciary sit up and protect the separation of powers, the freedoms our country stands for, our constitution and our rights.

A judge has declared the Bush administrations wiretapping of all of us Americans illegal, a grave setback for the ChriStalinist regime that is the administration of Holy Farter George W. Bush and his Church of ProfitOILogy.

ChriStalinist (and ChriStalinism) is a(re) new word(s) I have coined in 2006, to counter the false phrase Islamofascism being foisted on us. ChriStalinism represents people claiming to do the work of Christ and Christianity but acting like Stalin fascists, imprisoning people without trial, saying torture is OK, spying on their own civilian people illegally, punishing people who speak against the junta, invading countries, etc.

God Bless America, its Constitution, and its judiciary. One day, I hope, the Congress will wake up too, and make us the United States of America, again, instead of the CHRISTalinist State of Busherica.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

To Buy Or Not To Buy: Nikon D80 vs. SONY Minolta-based DSLR Alpha

I had sworn off buying SONY products because of their shoving the unnecessary and more expensive than the popular SD cards Memory Stick in all their products. It's as if SONY never learns from their BetaMax mistakes.

I have bought several Nikons, from the great Coolpix 5700 (see some of the pics taken from the 5700 at ) and also the S5 and Wi-Fi S6, and love them. The picture quality, the shades of color they can capture, of sunsets and blue skies, of skin and hair, are amazing.

But I still have lots of investment in my old but great Minolta Maxxum 7000i (1991 or so) and lenses. When Konica Minolta shut down their operations and sold the camera business to SONY, I knew SONY would make decent cameras but if they had Memory Sticks and didn't do better than Nikon D70 models, I was likely to go with Nikon, or with the higher model Canon.

Then, SONY surprised me with the launch of their new Minolta based Alpha 100 DSLR at 10.2 Megapixels AND a price that will be comparable to Nikon and Canon cameras of lower resolution. (August 24, 2006 Canon has released as similar camera EOS Kiss Digital X in Japan and Rebel XTi in the United States in the 10 MP under $800 price range, but I do not believe it offers built in image stabilization).

On top of that, the camera has image stabilization built-in (as Minoltas did) so all my old Minolta Maxxum lenses benefit from IS without any additional cost to me.

And, SONY actually decided to not make Memory Sticks the required memory card for the camera... and that has got me seriously considering finally getting a SONY (other than a Sony Ericsson P900 mobile phone that I love --- though NEVER bought a single Memory Stick for above the 48MB or whatever it came with).

If you are looking at the New Nikon D80, I would stronly urge you to also take a look at the SONY DSLR before you make a decision, unless you have a Nikon investment in lenses and equipment. Check these comparisons.

While you are here, do check some other items of interest.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More On Morons

I was woken up early this morning by a call to be interviewed on a popular radio show with Patrick Shiels in Michigan, on the Big Show. He is a great guy to be on air with, because, unlike many talk-radio hosts, he does not shout, posture, or pontificate. We had a great conversation about various topics.

The primary topic I want to write on is more on the morons in the news today.

The first set of morons is the bunch of (presumably) Muslim nutjobs in England, who were planning to blow up a bunch of airliners using liquid explosives or explosives concealed in liquids. Ironically, what surprised me was the surprise law enforcement expressed at this possible mechanism, because I recall having chatted with someone in law enforcement 2 years ago about a movie script where terrorists conceal C4 or such explosives inside tampered Pepsi Cola or Coke cans.

I have another movie script in my head that involves another idea, which, in the interest of national security, I am going to share with some of my law enforcement (FBI, NYPD and SCPD) and government (State Dept.) contacts just so they are aware of what new mechanism the terrorists may use. Darn, there goes my chance of writing the next Die Hard 23 movie script. I wonder if the government will sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

The second moron is Pat Robertson, who is in Israel and Occupied Palestine, telling Israelis he and HE (God) stand with them in their fight against Lebanon. I would love to have Mr. Christian Televangelist:

a) ask the Zionists if they believe in Jesus Christ as a Holy Prophet and the Virgin Mary --- as the Christian and Muslim Lebanese do, whom the Zionists are bombing and killing with America-rushed guided bombs?

b) tell the Jews that Pat Robertson sells his clientele on the second coming (of more money to him) etc. but that it requires the Jews to be "saved" and made to "believe" and other such wonderful things that the many versions of the Bible teach?

c) talk about his large real estate and tourism project that will make him millions?

Hmmmm... It's not surprising to see illiterate Muslims in poor countries believing whatever a whackjob Mullah tells them as being the word of God, but when educated Americans spend hard earned money on Pat Jerk Robertson hoping for Armageddon to happen soon, instead of trying to make the world a better place.... it just makes me say, "Doh."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

To Buy Or Not To Buy: PhotoCo PhotoShare7 Digital Pic Frame - Probably NOT

This is just a Quick comment on the PhotoShare7, a sleek, ipod-like 7" digital picture frame I saw at Staples in Patchogue for $99.99. I was about to jump on the opportunity to buy that as a gift for my Dad's upcoming birthday and put in a 2GB SD card, so he could have constantly changing pictures of a lifetime of happiness and family life. But, I ended up holding back. Here are the questions I still do not have answers for, and you should keep in mind before you buy this item.

I just left a voicemail for the people at Photoco that make/sell them. It's cool to see iPod like design in a device but to carry it over into the sparsely worded packaging is stupid. The box for an item that is not very well understood by customers should have a little more info and useful info at that.

Their box does not even state a URL or web site for the company that makes it. It does not state if there is an upper limit on the capacity of SD-card it can take. (This can be an issue as new cards come out, these (2006) days 2GB SD cards can be had for under $50. e.g., I have a great Nikon 5700 camera for which I splurged on a 4GB MicroDrive only to find the camera only handles 1GB cards).

The box does not state the resolution of the screen, which most sites briefly mention as an issue, but there is no more concrete info. I am sure the low price must be a factor of that, because the quality of a 7" photo at 320x240 vs. 640x480 is going to be significantly different. Another thing, I noticed a similar unit at an auto-dealer the other day. I was immediately struck by the poor contrast, washed out colors and overall low quality image of that unit. It was NOT a PhotoCo frame BUT, if they were made by Far East or Chinese manufacturers from the same technology, it would be enough to hold me back.

The worst part is, I did find a web site for these people,, and they seem to be in Ohio. I have nothing but a negative impression of the company itself. They have an 800-number, but no one answers. I have left 3 voicemails, and got no response. There isn't even a single more bit of information on the whole WEB SITE than there is on the sparse package text. So, I had the Staples people put back on the shelf the PhotoShare7 unit I had wanted to buy and write a more detailed review on. If the company does not even bother to respond to NEW customers asking to BUY, I wonder what quality one can expect from the product, or in customer support queries.

The idea is great - though hardly new. The design is sleek - though iPod-ripoff like. The price is great - though I can't be sure if its actual quality is worth that price. It comes with great accessories, but without having more info, I cannot recommend anyone buy it except where the convenience, gadget factor, quick and inexpensive gift nature of it is useful.

- Update: Finally, on my third call, a woman answered, who had NO idea about the product. She said she would find someone. The guy called back in a very laid back tone, as if doing me a favor. Apparently this company is a subsidiary of Samsonite, which I found an interesting and not totally unrelated strategic expansion of the travel theme. The product is said to have a resolution of 480x234 or something weird like that, which suggests my initial impression was correct, that the picture would be stretched out of proportion. The guy said it can take any available SD card (which currently are at 4GB in 2006). I asked if the pictures should be stored on the card from the Apple Macintosh MacOS or other PC at appropriate resolution or would the firmware of the frame simply load up a 5MP image and display it appropriately resized to the size of the frame, and he said that is what would happen. That's the latest as of August 15, 2006.

Monday, August 07, 2006

We’ll Always Have Paris (Hilton)

It just seems that our favorite famous-for-being-famous celebrity just cannot stay out of the news. First she could not keep new sex tapes from coming out. For a woman who was recently seen wearing $3 MILLION worth of jewelry, it is amazing that she did not pay her bill for a storage locker and the stuff was auctioned off. But the question is, how many sex tapes does this girl have, that she needs a huge storage locker in a warehouse! I guess her story and her video tapes will remain a timely topic for decades to come.

Yet, Paris Hilton appears more hungry for attention than an Ethiopian refugee starving for food after a decade old-famine. She recently claimed she is the "blonde icon" of our times. Now, don't get me wrong, I love blondes. But, it's bimbos I cannot stand.

So many times Ms. Hilton says or does things that make her appear to be the "bimbo icon" of our times. But, a quick analysis of her antics, and even the timing and constant timeliness of her sex-tapes release (more consistent and reliably scheduled than many Hollywood sequels!) suggests that the girl is anything but a bimbo. She is simply a businesswoman cashing everything in, all the time. She may not have Madonna's ability to "re-brand" or "re-engineer" herself, but, in terms of exploiting her station in life and the short shelf life of most celebrities, especially those created out of scandal, Paris Hilton may be forever. Here's what I think about her story.

Once upon a time - until a few years ago, life was simple. You were either born super-wealthy, or you dreamt of becoming filthy rich. Or, as Anna Nicole Smith proved, you hoped to marry a shriveling old billionaire and get all, or almost all, his money when he died. Not having anything better to do with her [ahem] considerable intellectual abilities or, probably, not finding any 10 year olds at her mental level, Anna Nicole had no choice but to put herself out on her own reality TV show.

For those who could only dream of being super rich, and did not have Anna Nicole's "assets", salvation lay in the opportunity to become a movie star. To become a movie star, especially if you were of average talent, you needed to get noticed. There were several ways to get noticed, one of the most effective ones being to get on the cover of a magazine, like Playboy, preferably without your clothes on.

Then came TV, actually, "Reality" TV, which gave average Joes and Janes a chance to make themselves more desirable to that Mister or Miss Right who might be out there, somewhere.

How eating cows' intestines or bulls' eyes or lizards' tails on live national TV makes one more desirable is something I still have not figured out. Then I saw that some of these reality TV "stars" - whose names I cannot remember - took the next logical step.

After reality TV they posed for Playboy and I am sure they are now waiting for their movie roles and eventually a chance to meet the heir to some fortune who will fall in love, or lust, with them. Then, magically, they would turn from airheads int heiresses.

At least that is they way the system used to work. But, as we all know, there is always someone who will come along and spoil a perfectly good system.

I must be the last person with high-speed Internet and computer know-how who still has not seen the now famous video clip of the multi-talented Paris Hilton.

On a side note, it did make me wonder. I mean, would it feel strange to have sex with Paris Hilton - at the Paris Hilton? Anyway, I digress.

Back to what Ms. Hilton did. With one insertion, of the video tape, Paris Hilton has shown that it is also possible to go all the way - in reverse. by starting from being an heiress, to a sex-movie star, and now, on to her own reality show. Who knows, maybe being a reality TV show star is what heiresses aspire to be - when they are not busy making sex-tapes.

So, all of you out there lining up for reality TV slots, hoping to use it to become heiresses some day - remember, it works both ways.

Well-heeled heiresses may want to be in your low-rated shows as much as you may want to be in their high-heeled shoes. To remind us of that, we'll always have Paris (Hilton)!

And that, folks, is In My Humble Opinion. This is Imran Anwar, signing off.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Marlon Brando Bowed, So Will Mel Gibson

I started writing my online web log (before "blogging" came around) more than a decade ago, under the trademarks of "Occasionally Obnoxious Obviously Outspoken Opinions" and short comments under "2 Cent(ence)s Worth".

One of the "big" non-events around that time was the media-forced frenzy over the comments Marlon Brando had made about how Jews controlled Hollywood.

Now news items show that Mel Gibson made some drunken comments against Jews, which he is fast backtracking on. Even a great actor, an institution and legend in his lifetime, Marlon Brando, had to fast rewind and backtrack on what he said. This is what I had written:


Imran Anwar questions a "Higher Authority" © 1996-2004

(Issues of media influence of pro-Israeli groups continue to this day, and since then neo-Cons, most of them Zionists likeWolfowitz, Perle, etc.Loyall to Israel more than to America, have led Americans into what will be a long term globallydisastrous policy)

As if any proof was needed, the Jewish Mafia in the USA showed its true colors and power recently. Legendary movie star Marlon Brando expressed remorse for his (truthful) opinion that Hollywood is dominated by Jews. He had said that they show every minority group in a negative light but Jews are never shown as villains. I think he had the courage to express the truth, though his choice of words like nigger and kike may not have been appropriate.

This was something I had written just two days before Brando said the same thing. If someone like Brando turned to Jello, and had to backpedal so fast, one can imagine the power that groups like JDL and ADL command over the ordinary day to day working of the media and Hollywood.

We recall when Spike Lee had to spend more time defending his movie than marketing it, a few years ago, when he was accused of anti-Semitism. His crime? The movie had showed two characters who, get a load of this, LOOKED Jewish! Imagine what it would be like if someone made movies in which the criminals were always Hasidim or other Jews, instead of Blacks as criminals, and Muslims as terrorists.

One does not have to subscribe to the politics of Pat Buchanut, I mean, Buchanan, but we have all seen him get hit by the same 'Brand-'em Anti-Semitic' Media Gestapo for criticizing US' blind support of Israel. This happened when he stated, half-jokingly, and, one could argue, quite-truthfully, that the US Congress was also "Israeli Occupied Territory!"

It seems that free speech concepts apply only if someone creates "art" with the Cross of Jesus in a jar of urine, writes a filthy novel about Prophet Mohammad, drapes a toilet bowl with the Flag, or publishes 'research' showing that Blacks are mentally inferior to others. But, apparently, saying something negative, even stating a statistical and clearly known fact, about the number and control of Jews of Hollywood is unacceptable. It is worse than blasphemy.

Marlon Brando should have known that they would first Brand him (anti-Semitic) and then "make him an offer he could not refuse." It was amusing to see the JDL say they would "make his life a living hell" yet no one read anything into this threat. I can imagine the Jew York Times....errr... the NY Times staying as quiet had it been the Iranian government saying they would make someone's life a living hell.

Marlon just realized he would have to apologize to a "higher authority" than God, the Godfathers of Hollywood and the rabid rabbis of the media industry.

So, as I said about Marlon.... Passion of the Gibson will meet the (double) cross(hairs) of Jollywood... and bow down.