trademarked, patented shrubbery

As I’m planting my front yard, I’m doing a lot of research on various plants and trees. One tree that caught my eye for one spot is this River Birch. But the wacky thing about it is that the name is a registered trademark and it also carries this warning “Propagation of this plant is prohibited due to patent protection.”

Patented garden plants? I suddenly had visions of a sci-fi future where Johnny Appleseed works for Monsanto, and you’re not allowed to eat the apples or graft new trees since it’s all copyrighted, patented, and trademarked up the wazoo.

I think I’ll get a different tree for that spot.

Ultimate Blogging Board

It’s been said numerous times that the word “weblog” that morphed into the hideous “blog” has all but become meaningless. Still, it’s worth nothing when you see a new (mis)use of the term. This article in the Boston Globe about the TiVo community forum refers to their boards as a “blog”. When mentioning forum members, they are called “bloggers” on the TiVo “blog”. My guess is in a few years “blog” will be synonymous with publishing anything on the web. The article also fails to even link to the site being talked about.

Dear Overhaulin

There’s a show on TV called Overhaulin’ that is basically like trading spaces, except with cars, and if you search for the title, for one reason or another this blog post comes up first in the results.

If you’ve been reading lots of blogs in the past year or so, you might have noticed that sometimes people searching the web mistake a blog post about a subject for the actual subject. Someone makes a post about Prince, and you see a comment that starts out “Dear Prince” and in all sincerity, people believe they are talking to the subject of the post.

That Overhaulin blog post is the best example I’ve seen yet. Dozens of people convinced they are speaking directly to someone involved with the show, and it even includes AN ALL CAPS GUY LEAVING A COMMENT.

It seems obvious to all us that have seen weblogs before, the original post clearly is someone commenting on a TV show. But my guess is that regular folks see Google as an internet appliance, and when you put in “overhaulin” you will get the right site as the first result and if that site asks for comments, it must be the show, right?

Hacking Idol

It’s great to finally hear someone talk about phone phreaking and other attempts to subvert American Idol voting. Just last week I was trolling the web looking for web-to-SMS gateways to see if one could write a bot to vote-spam an American Idol contestant. To hear that folks are using automated dialers to shut out voters seems even more obvious. They should probably just make the voting a 900 number, at say, 50 cents a vote, in order to limit hackery but people could still simply jam the lines with DoS attacks using dialers.

The difference between throwing a bullet and shooting it out of a gun

I’ve started trying to exercise more regularly for the past couple weeks, going for a 12 mile, hilly bike ride 3 times a week. Today I did my ride with a decent average speed and finished it in the shortest time yet. The loop I ride has a couple 10% grades in it and I do about 250ft of climbing through it. I was walking around the house today feeling pretty cocky about my progress when I sat down to watch one of my current favorite shows, The Lance Chronicles.

On tonight’s episode they followed Lance Armstrong through his european training. One of his regular rides was a 4 1/2 hour, 30 mile climb from the flats high into the mountains, going straight up. It turns out he climbs over 13,000ft in that single ride. When I was in marathon shape, I did a few hikes where I would gain about 6,000ft in a single day from basecamp to summit, and Lance is doing more than twice that. As a training ride.

I’m thinking he’s a shoe-in for this year’s Tour.