Archive for November, 2005

Book ’em

November 29th, 2005 — Wordman

If you look down the sidebar to the right of the screen, you’ll note a new addition to this blog: a list of books I’m reading, have read or will read. Eventually, stuff on the “recently read” list will make its way onto a static page with capsule reviews. This feature comes courtesy of the Now Reading plugin for WordPress, by Rob Miller.

Of course, eventually, I’ll try to put a list of books, CDs and DVDs I own up on the web, via Delicious Library and my hacked CueCat. I’m sure you can’t wait.

Four letters, starts with a C

November 16th, 2005 — Wordman

I’m certainly not the only one to notice that a good portion of the media has been having a tough time using the word “Muslim” lately. It used to be that you’d hear the media use the phrase “Islamic fundamentalist”, but this seems like it has given way to the unqualified “terrorist” or the even more abstract “terrorism”, where only the act of, say, a car bombing is important, not the fact that it might have some sort of religious motivation.

I suppose the reason for this is that much of the media wants to avoid looking like they are tarnishing an entire faith it calling attention to a “bad element’s” connection to it. I can understand, and even sympathize, with this desire. After all, in its more peaceful forms, Islam is no dumber or dangerous than any other religion. I think, however, that the media are going about it all wrong and have a suggestion to help them out, first made four years ago in a drunken rant I wrote a few days prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. At the time, the suggestion was made as a strategy the government should adopt. I’m now thinking that I had the right idea but the wrong target back then.

The idea is fairly simple. Media outlets should start calling any Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group what it is: a cult. This instantly separates these groups from the types of Muslims the media is anxious to avoid offending. Plus, a “cult” is a physical group with a finite number of members and, therefore, is significantly easier to defeat than an abstract concept like “terrorism”.

I encourage everyone reading this to start using the c-word in reference to these fanatics.

Out Classed

November 4th, 2005 — Wordman

After screwing up yesterday’s post about a class action suit, I spent a while prowling the net for photos of the actual class council (rather than the defendant’s lawyers). In looking for information on Seth A. Safier, Esq., came across another class action lawsuit he settled. This one accused a software store of selling used CDs as new.

Two things jump out at me:

  1. The settlement is much the same as the Netflix settlement: a piddling award for the “victims”, no admission of guilt or permanent change to the business and a sizable paycheck for the attorneys.
  2. The class representative is also named Chavez.

Draw your own conclusions.

Classless

November 3rd, 2005 — Wordman

I’m not the only blogger to mention this, but in this case the wider the message gets the better. My e-mail queue tells me that, though I no longer use Netflix

You are receiving this notice because you were a paid Netflix member before January 15, 2005. Under a proposed class action settlement, you may be eligible to receive a free benefit from Netflix.

A class action lawsuit entitled Chavez v. Netflix, Inc. was filed in San Francisco Superior Court (case number CGC-04-434884) on September 23, 2004. The lawsuit alleges that Netflix failed to provide “unlimited” DVD rentals and “one day delivery” as promised in its marketing materials. Netflix has denied any wrongdoing or liability. The parties have reached a settlement that they believe is in the best interests of the company and its subscribers.

The “free benefit” would be “a free one-month Netflix membership on your choice of the 1, 2 or 3 DVDs at-a-time unlimited program”. Yee haw. I’ve not been this excited since those bastards at Apple had to pay me $0.35 because they sold me a “17-inch monitor” that really only had 16.8-inches of viewable image on it. I am now served so much better as a consumer since the ads started saying “16.8-inches viewable monitor”.

On the settlement web site, buried in the full text of the settlement, is the following:

8.1 Subject to Court approval, Netflix shall pay $2,000 to the Class Representative.
8.2 Subject to Court approval, Netflix agrees to pay Class Counsel up to, and will not contest the reasonableness of, $2,528,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

The Class Counsel in this case is:

Adam Gutride, Esq.
835 Douglass Street
San Francisco, California 94114
Seth A. Safier, Esq.
6467 California
San Francisco, California 94121

Fortunately, buried even further into the settlement is this line:

11.1 Netflix shall have the right to terminate this Agreement and the settlement in the event that greater than 5% of the eligible Class Members opt-out of the settlement.

That makes it pretty clear what I’m going to do. Opting out is fairly easy and one Class Member has put together a form letter you can use. It’ll cost you a stamp, though. Fortunately for me, the check I got from Apple (plus interest) should cover my stamp.

Thanks to AS for providing advice and additional links and RS for the firm links.

Update: Initial post listed Netflix’s lawyers as the class counsel. D’oh! Sorry all. Corrected above.

Updated recommended software

November 3rd, 2005 — Wordman

After a long bout of procrastination, I’ve updated my list of recommended Mac OS X software. As before, I don’t spend any effort listing common programs like iTunes, but rather stuff that can be hard to locate, but quite useful and cool.