Internet Brands, vBulletin: The Annual Maintenance Crap

My apologies – the title of this post is “Annual Maintenance Pack.” As many of you may know, I run the legal advice forum at which, since 2001, has used vBulletin software. Last year I wrote a column here in my blog, not being thrilled with a forced vBulletin version 4 upgrade fee after the option to buy updates to my version 3 software was suddenly “discontinued.” Just when I thought the situation at Internet Brands couldn’t become more preposterous, the marketing comedy returns.

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Patent Lawsuit Against American Idol’s SMS Voting

The New York Daily News reported that a Texas retiree, Edward Lyda, has sued hit TV show, American Idol, in New York State Supreme Court. Lyda apparently claims that American Idol “ripped off” his idea about using live audience voting using SMS in a television show, which is allegedly patented. [Read more…]

Palm Pre = Pre-mature For Safe Usage?

I was intrigued by Verizon’s release of the Palm Pre Plus, having been a long time Palm Treo user. Using it for my own web site and law office management purposes, it seemed that the hardware keyboard and other capabilities would be a major boon. After peeking at the WebOS, I was very impressed but had several basic questions about how synchronization and backup processes function amongst several others. After performing research, I’m wondering whether Verizon Wireless appears hesitant to promote the exclusive Palm Pre Plus, perhaps what may still be the premature release of a new smart phone for business operation. [Read more…]

Apple iPad Flouts Trademark Infringement – What’s Next?

Either the arrogance at Apple has greatly exceeded that at Microsoft at its peak or I should be sending in my resume to Cupertino with all due haste. Apparently Apple decided to launch its iPad product without regard or care for existing trademarks that may have been filed in the United States. Apparently Fujitsu filed in 1993 for the iPad trademark for a “HAND-HELD COMPUTING DEVICE FOR WIRELESS NETWORKING IN A RETAIL ENVIRONMENT” and you can find the Fujitsu iPad product brochure here. Apple apparently sent a letter in opposition to this trademark for undisclosed reasons (rumors are afloat that it is under the doctrine of “divine right.”) [Read more…]

Review of Windows 7 & IE 8 – Greatness & Mediocrity

Windows 7 is truly a great, smooth, enjoyable operating system to use. It looks like Microsoft finally got it right… well… almost. There are two items that I find positively irritating and fortunately there are alternatives. Here is a very quick review of Windows 7 and my “off the cuff” impressions after working with Windows 7 Ultimate Edition, 64-bit, for the past several months. [Read more…]

The $7 Million Star Trek Memorabilia Lawsuit

Is a misunderstanding regarding a poker table and poker visor with uniform allegedly worn by Lieutenant Commander Data of the Starship Enterprise worth $7 million in damages? Apparently lifelong Trekkie, Ted Moustakis, believed it was after being denied in case his against Christie’s auction house by the New York State Appellate Court for fraud and negligent misrepresenation. [Read more…]

Dating & Romance Scam Targets Women in Asia

Are you a woman, most likely from some Asian country, who has been approached on a dating or professional social networking web site by what seems to be a nice European man, perhaps in the United Kingdom? He says wonderful things about you… he seems eloquent and charming. He will send you heart warming pictures of himself and his purported family. If you want to view and talk to him via web cam, sorry… he doesn’t own one. If you’re an Asian woman, your culture might lead you not to ask specific questions as doing so might be considered “rude” in your country. [Read more…]

Facebook Used to Prove Cure for Depression

A 29 year old Quebec woman claims to have lost her health benefits due to photos posted on Facebook showing her having fun frolicking on the beach, enjoying a birthday party, and having a good time at Chippendales. After being diagnosed with depression approximately a year and a half ago, the Manulife insurance company reportedly sent an ex-IBM employee monthly payments for an extended sick leave to help her cope with her illness. Am I the only one who thinks that using Facebook to question an “illness” is  hardly the issue? [Read more…]

vBulletin 4 Forum – The Controversial Upgrade Offer

For almost a decade, Jelsoft’s vBulletin software dominated the software market for online discussion forums. It was the quintessential example of how an enthusiastic customer base can extend a product and grow the base business exponentially. In 2007, Jelsoft and its potential was sold to Internet Brands, a public company, for an undisclosed sum and moved forward with few changes and little fanfare. In October 2009, everything changed in just two short weeks. The recent customer revolt against the new management team (the founders and most of the original team are gone) – ostensibly renamed as vBulletin Solutions (“vBS”) – is an interesting, ongoing case study that companies changing their software licensing models may want to follow. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a current owner of vBulletin software, managing a long running legal advice & assistance forum since the earliest versions appeared in 2001. My comments below represent my good faith understanding of the confusing events of the past two weeks and subject to correction. [Read more…]

AT&T permits VOIP, Skype, Google Voice on iPhone

Today AT&T released the news that it will permit the use of VOIP (Voice Over IP) programs to utilize its 3G network via the iPhone. Previously, applications such as Skype and Google Voice were limited to WiFi-only and not permitted to use the 3G data network. This decision comes at an important time when AT&T and other carriers are being scrutinized by the Federal Communications Commission for control they exert over devices and applications allowed on their networks. [Read more…]