Okay so this company in Singapore is claiming that they own the patent to the "technology" that allows you to link an image from your website to a URL on another website. They feel that everyone who has a website with an image that links to another site should have to pay them a licensing fee.
So they own the patent to a snippet of a commonly used markup language? They own "a href" if you put that in front of an image?
Apparently they have been sending out invoices to people who have images on their websites that link to some other site. Oh, I DO wish they would send me one. They now have a FAQ on their website, explaining why you should pay them to have links on your website.
It is worth noting that the only service Vuestar provides is the questionable "service" of invoicing people for using html.
Thousands of us should gather in their parking lot some morning. Just stand there silently. Then, on signal, we would all point at them and laugh.
Imagine my stunned surprise when I checked the mail at our church and found a letter addressed to me from Kipling’s Who’s Who, an organization of “leading business professionals.”
Apparently I’ve not only been nominated, but my “candidacy” has been approved and will become official upon receipt of the enclosed R.S.V.P. card.
I love the little notice at the bottom of the card. “Please do not confuse Kipling’s Who’s Who with other Mimic Publications.” (Italics and capitalization are theirs)
Ha ha, yuk yuk, yeah, I know this is an old joke. The who’s who scam is the precursor to the modern Nigerian bank account email scam. These things bring up so many fascinating questions.
Can it really be true that there are people out there who still think this is some kind of serious honor that is going to beef up their anemic resumes? Apparently so. This is a direct mail campaign. That’s not cheap. The people who run these things aren't stupid. I doubt they would continue to pay the postage and printing if it didn’t bring some return.
And that means some form of the following conversation is taking place right now:
Dude, I got nominated for Kipling’s Who’s Who.
You know, it’s one of those books for leading business professionals. You get in it, you know, because you’re promising or a leading professional.
Dude, you work at Wal-Mart. I mean, that’s cool, but I’m just saying.
Yeah but I have a college degree. That shows promise. You know, potential.
Well, about every fourth person you meet has a degree of one kind or another. Those who’s who things are totally bogus.
Sure some are, but this is Kipling’s. Isn’t that the real one? I mean I know that name. Wasn’t there a guy named Kipling who was that guy who was famous?
Yeah yeah yeah, uh...Runion Kipling or something. I think I heard that in college. [Get’s a mental image of an explorer wearing a pith helmet with a bushy mustache and pipe.] Yeah, that guy was definitely famous. I think he might have been the first to discover some Oriental country or something.
So that’s what I’m saying. This is Kipling’s Who’s Who. I’m sending in the card. What can it hurt? Could help my resume.
Do you even have a resume?
Not technically, but I’m putting one together. I’m going to get my real estate license and see if I can work for Mitch’s dad.
Yeah, there’s good money in real estate.
You know, I can buy the book with my name in it. There’s all those other business people’s names in it. Could be good contacts. I could send out my resume to them. It’s only 50 bucks. I’m just going to put it on my dad’s card. He won’t know.
Go for it man. What can it hurt?
Nothing. I mean NOTHING is funnier than real life.
The letter begins as follows:
RE: Your letter, received April Fools' Day
Dear Monster Lawyers,
Let me begin by stating, without equivocation, that I have no interest whatsoever in infringing upon any intellectual property belonging to Monster Cable. Indeed, the less my customers think my products resemble Monster's, in form or in function, the better.
It gets better. And, with the power of Google and blogs, perhaps this letter will become well known and used as a resource by any of the small companies that Monster Cable tries to bully in the future.
We have a good number of snakes in Texas, though I’ve only had run-ins with a few of them. Luckily, I know just enough about snakes to keep myself reasonably safe.
There are four poisonous snakes in Texas: The Copperhead, the Cotton Mouth (Water Moccasin), the Rattlesnake, and the Coral Snake. The first three are easy to spot because they have the classic, triangular head common to many venomous snakes. You don’t really have to know any more than that here in Texas. If you see a snake with a head that in any way resembles a triangle, run like hell, dumbass!
Now the Coral Snake is a little more difficult to spot. It does not have a triangular head. It has red, black, and yellow stripes. The harmless King Snake also has red, black and yellow stripes, but they are in a different order. Luckily there is a handy little poem to help you keep this straight.
Red touches yellow, kill a fellow.
Red touches black, venom lack.
In my case I’m afraid that in the heat of the moment I might get the poem wrong and say something like:
Red touches black, step back Jack.
Red touches yellow, step up and say hello.
To avoid a potential problem, I simplified the poem to a haiku.
If you see a snake
With stripes red, yellow, and black.
Run like hell, dumbass!
Some years ago, when there were only two sisters and they were both in elementary school, I stepped out the front door and found a full-grown, Western Diamondback Rattlesnake right there on my front porch. I didn’t see him at first. I stretched and yawned, then looked to the side and saw him coiled up about two feet from me.
I’m sorry, were you using this porch?
I leapt inside, spooking both girls. “What’s wrong?” they shouted.
“There’s a Rattlesnake on the front porch.”
Let’s agree that these symbols represent the sound of two girls shrieking and running around in a mad panic:
In 1993 I lost my Ray-Ban Wayfarers in waist-deep water at the beach. I was 32 and just realizing that I couldn't remember anything fun to do in the water. I ran into the ocean with great excitement, but I didn't know what to do after that, so I was just standing there.
And then this wave hit me from behind and knocked my sunglasses off. I awkwardly tried to keep my head above the water while I groped for them. Then I got serious and went under, running my hands all over the bottom. I opened my eyes, but all I could see was brown water.
When I came up, sputtering, a wave slapped me in the face, and I fell over. I got turned around a little bit and then I wasn't sure where I had been standing. And just like that, they were gone.
I really liked those sunglasses, too. They had prescription lenses and cost me a lot of money. Wayfarers were still in style back then. Well, sort of in style.
"Do plastic sunglasses come in with the waves or go out with the undertow?" I wondered. I sat on the beach awhile to see if they would wash ashore.
I think floating things wash in and sinking things roll along the bottom and out to sea. Does that sound right to you? I think that's right.
Anyway my sunglasses never came in, and that would be the end of the story except for one thing:
My Wayfarers are out there somewhere.
I believe that when things are lost in the ocean, they still exist. I do believe this.
I'm pretty sure I believe this.
There IS something scary and mysterious about Davy Jones' Locker. Who knows what goes on down there? When things sink to the bottom of the ocean, doesn't it sort of seem like they don't exist anymore? Part of me knows sunken things still exist, but another part of me can't seem to grasp this.