Monday, April 2, 2012

Drafting and not paying attention

IPKat reveals the case of Sawyer v Atari Interactive which discusses a number of interesting jurisdictional issues. Sawyer started an action in the UK against Atari who in turn applied to have it transferred to the US as the forum conveniens, basing their application on the grounds of stuff.

They lost, but it struck me from the report that this very expensive hearing could easily have been avoided by Sawyer had his lawyer been awake when drafting the contract’s jurisdiction clause. One frequently sees such a clause expressed thusly;

19 Law
This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and the parties hereby submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.

one also sees, woefully often, a variant along the lines of:

19 Law
This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales.

It transpires the Sawyer jurisdiction clause was of the latter variety. Had it been the former this hearing could have been entirely avoided since there would have been no serious grounds for arguing that the US was a contractual forum.

Sometimes clients get what their lawyers deserve.

Bush nominee Alito's a boost to technologists? reports that Alito may be tech industry friendly. The US Supreme Court has heard many pivotal tech cases in recent times: Sony Grokster etc. While it could have been better, the Grokster decision was not the disaster it could have been to the tech industry (even if the entertainment is painting it as such for intimidation purposes). If the report of Alito taking a restricted view of the proprietorial interests in copyright is right and of his being industry friendly (though that is a decidedly mized blessing in other contexts) then his appointment comes regretably late.

Nonetheless there will be future battles and one hopes he will realise that the US economic interest is far better served by protecting the innovative tech sector rather than the regressive protectionist entertainment one.

Unfortunately he also seems pro-executive and pro-police so he’s something of a curates egg.

Blunkett bites the dust

A while back I blogged the rumour David Blunkett was on his way back to the Home Office. Breaking news indicates that his sleazy behaviour on share dealing has earned it’s true reward: a bullet in the nape of the neck.

For him it is the end. Finally.

At least I think so. Blair always used Blunkett as his foil at the Home Office because Blunkett was as contemptuous of freedom and civil liberties as him. Blunkett could be Mr Nasty for him. Blair has had some subsequent difficulty finding a loony replacement in the Blunkett mould to continue the war on civil liberties, I mean look at Clarke - if you can bear it that is, so he may be hoping for Blunkett’s long term rehabilition. The rehabilitation he isn’t prepared to offer prisoners. I’m very probably being pessimistic.

And if someone can just run over his children and guide dog my day will close with a happy smile.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Titles are the hardest part of blogging

next to coming up with things to say, which is why there are long lapses of time between blogs.

• We are having the lushest rainy season we've had since I returned to California. It reminds me of the PNW, in fact makes me homesick for the Seattle area. I miss my girlfriends up there, too.

• Here is a salad that is good for the end of winter/early spring.

Carrot Râpée

Line two plates with red lettuce or 'spring mix' lettuces.

4 carrots, grated

2 Tablespoons good olive oil

1 Tablespoon wine vinegar (I use white Balsamic vinegar from a bottle that I've filled with crushed cloves of garlic -- if your vinegar isn't Balsamic or seasoned rice wine, you will want to add 1/2 teaspoon sugar)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

handful of parsley finely chopped (I also added some fresh chervil that's coming up in the garden)

1-2 large cloves of garlic crushed and minced

juice of one half lemon

a little salt and a lot of freshly ground pepper

2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts.

Toss all of that together and divide between the plates. Totally yummy.

• I think I mentioned that I was getting rid of the farmer's table that I picked off the curb [total disclosure -- we've taken it out of the house and it's down in our landlord's garage until I can bear to let it leave, sob]. Steve built a base with basket drawers for our old semi-round table top -- not esthetically as pleasing to me, but it gets more crap off the tabletop. I am bad.

You will notice, if you click to enlarge the photo on the right, the smooth and litter-free quality of the floor. Bless the vacuum called Photoshop for that. You did not want to see what was there.

• My class is going well. The instructor does not have organizational skills, so we have kind of an Easter Egg hunt to find which lesson in which text goes in which section. One of the students said that they were considering dropping the class as she was also taking an HTML class and those instructions were crystal clear. Ouch. It didn't help that the instructor couldn't get the online whiteboard to work during our in class [online] session and wasted 20 minutes of the hour. Even so, I'm picking up enough info to make the class worth while to me. My project is an hypothetical online shop that sells patchwork linens (the tablecloth above is one of the offerings) called Tinker's Tatters. I've gotten a 97/100 for a first assignment, but of course, I'm not doing this for a grade, I'm doing it to learn. I just keep trying to remind myself of that.

• If you aren't listening to WNYC's RadioLab, you are missing something. This show will help me forget that I'm walking alone or on the exercise bike. One of the letters to them said that the writer, a woodworker, had to give up listening while working as the show was so distracting to be detrimental to the health and safety of his fingers. This one show is fabulous: particularly the part about the whale.