Bloggers & the Law

Those looking for a little legal advice on corporate blogging would do well to read Ephraim Schwartz’s column in last week’s InfoWorld magazine. He’s done some of the footwork and consulted with several attorneys and summarized his findings. Much of what he says map to the guidelines that have been published by others but it’s always helpful to get the legal perspective.

1. Negative opinions stated as fact can be interpreted as "trade disparagement" or liable.
2. Republishing too much material under your name could be interpreted as copyright infringement.
3. Stay away from any statements about earnings rumors on future strategy.
4. In light of the recent Apple suit, revealing trade secrets is a bad idea.
5. Liability insurance may not cover bloggers.

In general, it’s always a good idea to have a publicly circulated blogging policy to define, as clearly as possible, up front, what the corporate blogger needs to know. Worst case, this same policy would be a useful thing to point to should a dispute ever arise.

The very first Mommy

A tough questions from the weekend from our little inquisiter, Tyler:

Who was the first mommy? With all the debate around intelligent design it wouldn’t be fair to just point to a picture of a monkey and leave it at that. I need to think about this, gather all sides of the debate and present them for his little sponge mind to ponder. Evolution, how it works, evidence that points to such a theory, and even a little side lecture about the scientific method.

Fresno Bee does RSS

Mark Thompson over at the Fresno Bee is turning on the paper’s online readers to the wonder and glory of RSS with a nice little how-to piece on Beehive, the site’s blog. A couple of people in the past few weeks have told me to check out what the Bee is up to and I’m glad I did. They have even made an RSS feed out of their events calendar which is very cool.

QR Code shortcuts text entry

This is  old news for those of you who have been to Japan. Anyone that’s used UPS or Fedex has seen these newfangled barcodes (QR code stands for "quick read") that allow them to be scanned from any direction. There is a lot of information that you can pack into these codes which can hold up to 3,000 alphanumeric characters on a single square. Squint your eyes and you can also see the Mona Lisa.

The most interesting applications are coming from Japan where cellphone software for the phone camera (you cannot buy a cellphone without a camera these days) can read the QR code and use it to navigate right to a web page on your phone’s web browser without having to use the numberpad to painfully enter in a long web address.

Magazines and newspapers also use this code to provide links to more information and advertisers put this mark onto their posters on commuter trains where a captive audience can click through for more details.

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Spring Skiing

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I’m catching up on my backlog of photos here but a two weekends back we headed up to Tahoe to catch the last of the snow with our neighbors who have an enormous cabin up near Donner Lake. Poor Julia couldn’t ski because the rental place didn’t have boots small enough for her but she seemed to take it in stride. Tyler and I did a few turns with him between my legs and he seemed to get the hang of it.

It’s so nice to have the mountains so close by – only about three hours if you time the traffic right and you’re right up in some pretty fantastic scenery.

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O-Hashi

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It’s been said that a girls fine motor skills advance more quickly than boys and much to Tyler’s frustration, he’s seeing that play out each evening at the dinner table. Julia has mastered the chopsticks to the point where she can pick up individual peas while her older brother is left to shoveling them into his mouth with a spoon like a common barbarian.

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Current Events

Game On!

Tyler’s T-Ball league teams are all named after real Major League teams. Tyler plays for the Washington Nationals who were most recently the Montreal Expos. Last weekend we all went to the beautiful SBC Park to see the real Washington Nationals play the San Francisco Giants. It was pouring down rain on our way in and everyone was wondering if the game would be called. As we waited for the light to change so we could cross the street to the stadium, I looked around and could see that this was a die hard crowd. They were going to this game even though it was raining and was predicted to rain through to the evening. They were there on the off chance that the game would be on. Folks were huddled under their umbrellas in grim determination and I began to wonder if this day at the ballpark was going to work out as planned.

As we waited, a station wagon rolled by in traffic with a young girl, maybe 9 or 10 years old, leaning out the window and waving her baseball glove madly and egging on the crowd, “Game On! Game On!” as if she could will the game to happen. You could see she couldn’t wait to see her SF Giants hit the field. And would you believe it, after a short delay, the grounds crew came out to pull the covering off the diamond to the roar of the crowd.

The game went into extra innings and came down to some questionable calls but by that time we had already gone. As you can see from the photo above, attention spans were waning and when the wind picked up in the fifth inning, it was time to duck out and head home.

The seats were great (thanks Andrew!) and the kids had a blast.

Department of Defense can’t keep secrets

The Pentagon recently posted a heavily censored document concerning the accidental shooting of Italian intelligence agent, Nicola Calipari, on their website but forgot that blocked out text in digital format isn’t really blocked out.

You can find links to the source materials at Memory Hole but the real news is that the Department of Defense can’t seem to keep it’s information classified.

Walter Cronkite blogs the way it is

I smile when I read Walter Cronkite’s first post on Arianna Huffington’s new group blog. I grew up with Uncle Walt rounding out the evening’s news and it’s great to see him back again and rolling up his sleeves to work on his blog.

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Office

Six Apart is Hiring

We’re looking for someone local (San Francisco) to help out with some of the volume of inquiries (seems like everyone wants to know what a blog is these days. . . ) we’re getting. Interested parties, click here for the listing.