Sammy G's blog

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Patent Extortion

In business, there are players with talent and there are those without talent who compensate for their lack of talent by gaming a system. In this case, it happens to be the U.S. patent system, a system which is broken.

Research In Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry, settled last Friday its five-year patent dispute with a one-man Virginia firm NTP, averting a possible court-ordered shutdown of the BlackBerry system via a $612.5M payout. NTP was co-founded in 1990 by an engineer who claimed to create a system that sent e-mails between computers and wireless devices. According to NTP, RIM stole their idea. Throughout the dispute, NTP tried to play up the David vs. Goliath message in the media, because NTP was an office of two people.

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Stop The Pledge Drive

Does anybody else out there give money to pledge drives for public broadcasters?

I'm frequently subjected to Minnesota Public Radio pledge drives. As of today, I am predicting that within two months MPR will re-organize as a fully private operation or become the target of legislative changes to disrupt their public funding.

Here's why.

For those of you who don't know, a lot of the national programming to which you listen via your NPR affiliate is out of MN. Besides just the MPR stuff, PRI, a syndicator of original programming for NPR stations, is also HQed in MN. Because of this, I bought into the fact that the MPR mothership needed to coordinate lots of pledge drives to cover the costs of putting on these shows. I understood the rationale behind asking the listening public to pony up some kessev.

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Why I Don't Like The Winter Olympics

With one more day remaining in the XX modern Winter Olympics, I would like to express my opinion as to why these series of sport are lackluster:

-The outcome of many Winter games is influenced by who performs the prettiest.
-The world's most popular sports are not included.

Particular to the Winter games, I don't like watching a competition in which a performance is judged on prettiness. We're not talking about an athlete completing a set distance in the fastest time or moving a certain object the most reps. We're talking about artistic performances adjudicated by interpretive opinions of human judges. I wasn't around over two thousand years ago, but the ancient Greek Olympics had nothing to do with prettiness. I'm sure if we thawed out some Greek Olympian from ice and showed him (only men competed in the main events back then) today's games, he would fall over laughing at the bastardization of sport. Besides, back then there was only one winner and no such thing as second or third. You win for your city-state or go home a failure. That's sport.

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Reasons 1 through Thirty-Six Billion

I would like to present Reasons 1 through Thirty-Six Point One Three Billion why the U.S. is currently fighting a war in Iraq:

DALLAS (AP) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. posted record profits for any U.S. company on Monday -- $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter and $36.13 billion for the year -- as the world's biggest publicly traded oil company benefited from high oil and natural-gas prices and solid

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Jury Duty

Sammy G was not a happy camper when yesterday's mail brought a letter from the U.S. District Court emblazoned with the words, "Juror Materials." Yes, yours truly has been selected as a potential juror for a federal court case, and I am delighted to be provided the opportunity to come forward and represent my fellow citizens by participating in this country’s great judicial system.

Included was a questionnaire to get the jury selection process rolling. They want answers bubbled in with a #2 pencil. I’m using a red pen.

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Found out about Waxmail ( this morning. A neat idea for those who are slow typers or prefer to communicate by voice. I tried it for the first time this morning.

Basically, this is a plug-in for MS Outlook that allows anyone with a microphone and internet connection to attach voice recordings to their outgoing emails. I liken this to the 'send voice mail' function on phone systems that allows people to send a voice mail, rather than directly call. In general, this 'send voice mail' function leaves me annoyed when I'm the recipient. You didn't want to talk to me so you're avoiding a conversation by leaving a voice mail?

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I'm Turning Into My Father

I recently noticed that I've turned into my father. Is this happening to anyone else?

-I look forward to mowing the lawn.
-I wait to watch the garbagemen take the trash each week to make sure they get everything.
-I get worked up when I see strangers walking near my lawn because preserving the perfect nature of my grass has become more important than people.
-I don't like people.
-I don't like talking to people.

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Print With Draft Option

Here's what I love about today's home and office printers: you're really paying for the ink. Similar to the blades-and-razor deal, printing is more about the ink then about the hardware. In fact, I came to the realization that it's cheaper to buy a new printer off the shelf then to pay for ink cartrdige replacement.

Enter 'draft' option. Printing with this option prolongs the life of ink catridges. How many times do your print jobs really need to be in a 'text' or 'photo' version? Aside from digital camera pics of the fam, most print jobs don't need to be fully inked.

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The Push For Auto Insurance

I'm accustomed to auto insurance ads on TV. I'm used to auto insurance ads showing up in the mailbox in the form of junk mail. However, I'm never seen a sales pitch for auto insurance come from the Office of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement from an accredited university; in this case, the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Yesterday, I got a letter from a Vice President of my old school asking me to switch from GEICO to Liberty Mutual. Sheldon Caplis wrote me a nice bulk mail piece giving me a basic to-do: call Liberty Mutual to save on auto insurance. Since starting my business, I've become adept and experienced in developing direct mail campaigns for garnering improved business results. This was a classic direct mail letter that included all the features: personal story, service action, strong post script, didactic language, and credible outcomes.

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Who's Using Internet Banking?

I just read a stat putting half of U.S. households paying at least one bill via online banking. Which leads me to ask: how many of you are paying bills with an online bill-pay service?

I don't know much about paying bills via the internet. At one time, I thought that you set up a bill-pay account with your bank, and then the bank did the work of collecting all the monthly bills and presenting them to you through their web portal. I've been told that this is not how it works. I've been told you have to personally set up each and every repetitive bill with the vendor, not the bank.

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