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Cash that Check -- Go to Jail

November 9, 2006

Apparently it is becoming increasingly possible to go to jail when you receive a fraudulent check. This can happen when selling products on craigslist and eBay.   An article in the San Francisco Chronicle explains San Francisco resident Matthew Shinnick tried to sell a pair of mountain bikes on Craigslist late last year. He attracted a buyer, received a check in the mail -- and ended up handcuffed by police in a downtown Bank of America branch and jailed for almost 12 hours.

Shinnick, it appears, was a victim of the classic "Nigerian 419" scam, adapted in this case to sucker in unwary Craigslist users.

Typically, the scam involves a bogus check being sent by a fraudster as a part of a transaction. The transaction is subsequently canceled and, before the bank has spotted the check as a phony, the fraudster requests some or all of his money back -- money that the victim unknowingly pays out of his own pocket.

Shinnick said he wasn't aware of the scam while he was negotiating to sell his bikes -- his first foray onto Craigslist.





Inter-Tel Buyout Withdrawal

November 8, 2006


Vector Capital and former Inter-Tel CEO Steven Mihaylo said they withdraw their bid for Inter-Tel. Recently Inter-Tel shareholders rejected the takeover proposal. 11,272,46 shares were voted against the Mihaylo Resolution, representing slightly over 50% of the 22,524,535 shares of the Company's common stock that were represented in person or by proxy.

Stockholders who voted, other than Mihaylo, rejected the resolution by approximately a two to one margin. This is obviously a very substantial number. Mihaylo owns approximately 19.4% of Inter-Tel's outstanding common shares.

Personally I think current management at the company is doing a good job and it would seem shareholders agree.




France Telecom in the Movies

November 8, 2006

The next move for telecom companies is to look outside telecom

It would seem that if cable and phone companies are set for a war, the phone companies need to hurry up and catch up in one of the areas cable has a stronghold; video content. This is not news to France Telecom who recently created a new unit that will invest in French and European movie rights and produce between 10 to 15 films per year.

Some people were surprised by the move but what France Telecom has done makes perfectly good sense for a number of reasons. We all know content is king. Consumers will be watching more and more video on devices like iPods, phones and soon watches.



YouTube: Invention of the Year

November 6, 2006

Cell Phones Reduce Traffic

November 6, 2006

Two companies, IntelliOne and AirSage are working on a solution to the growing traffic problem on the nation's roads. By using data related to cellphones traveling in cars, they are able to see where traffic is moving and where it is not. Since the data will be used in aggregate there isn't an immediate privacy problem but it is obvious law enforcement will have instant access to this system. In addition expect there to be data breaches like there are everywhere else.



Cy Smith, AirSage's president and CEO, said more than $1 billion is spent each year by government agencies to track traffic, but the expense doesn't even cover 1 percent of the nation's roads.

NTP Sues Palm

November 6, 2006

Sony Type G

November 4, 2006

Sony has done it again with their featherweight Vaio which is called the Type G. Perhaps the G refers to the absence of grams as the laptop weighs in a bit shy of 900 of them. That is just under 2 pounds by the way. As an aside, I have never been a fan of the name Vaio for Sony’s laptops but I have been a fan of how well Sony computers have been designed. They always look much nicer than the typical black box design of other PC makers.

I started this entry by saying the company has done it again as I recall being blown away at the diminutive size of the original Sony Vaio laptops many years ago.

Of course we all know about the Sony battery recall saga that seems to never end.



PayPal Explosion

November 1, 2006

Cable Companies Vulnerable?

November 1, 2006

There are some very smart people in the telecom business who are betting on the cable companies as the winners in the service provider wars. Their logic goes something like this. The cable companies have relationships with content providers and have faster broadband connectivity and are taking away voice market share from the LECs. The phone companies aren’t even able to deliver TV yet.

There is some sound logic here. The LECs are behind and if they don’t catch up soon they can be in trouble over time.

The one ace up the sleeve of the phone companies is their relationships with businesses which are better than the cable companies.



RSS in your IM

October 30, 2006


If you need to get up to the minute updates on your RSS feeds such as this one from Dan York (which alerted me to this story), you want to check out the RSS Robot which takes an RSS feed and connects it with Skype so you get an IM in Skype when new RSS info comes through. I already get alerted to new RSS feeds from my reader so this isn’t too useful for me. Still it could be useful to someone who is hooked on Skype and whose RSS reader doesn’t alert them to new content.

As we begin to see more and more products integrate with Skype the question becomes when we see a full-fledged office-like environment evolve around Skype. First we would need an e-mail client – perhaps this AJAX-based one from BlueTie will do.


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