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The question that the courts are being asked to answer, in a suit brought by an employer against a former employee, is;

Does an employee who leaves a job that involves working with social media have the right to take his or her Twitter account and followers along?

 According to Ron Barnett, a writer for USA TODAY,

That’s the question at the heart of a case unfolding in U.S. District Court in Northern California. It pits Noah Kravitz, who worked as an editor and video blogger, against his former employer, PhoneDog, a Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based company that offers reviews, news and information about phones and related technology.

By the time Kravitz left PhoneDog in October 2010, he had amassed nearly 17,000 followers. PhoneDog says in the lawsuit those followers should be treated like a customer list, and therefore are its property. The company is asking that Kravitz pay $2.50 per follower per month for eight months, or a total of $340,000. In his answer filed last week, Kravitz argues that PhoneDog is overstating the account’s value and that Twitter is the legal owner of the account.

Eric Menhart, a Washington attorney specializing in cyberlaw says that, “unless there’s a written agreement, there’s no clear line that answers this question.”

This lawsuit has the potential to touch the lives of anyone who uses social media, especially if they use it not only to promote a a particular employer’s brand-name but to create valuable name recognition for themselves.

Rachael Horwitz of Twitter’s media relations office stated that “Twitter does not comment on individual users for privacy reasons.”

Note: It is generally accepted in employment practices that for any work performed for an employer that creates value for said employer while said employee is under an employment contract… that value is effectively owned by the employer.  


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And So It Begins…

Ready and willing… or not, the New Year is upon us. The detritus of the past clings to us, stubbornly reminding us that although the New Year; with its promise of a new beginning, does not mean the end of all the threads of projects unfinished, relationships left unresolved, the hyenas baying at the gates or the woes that plague us in the dark of night.

Making A List, Checking It Twice

We make lists and resolve that we will do better ‘this year’. We avow to clean up the old messes before we start anew. We look at the pile of manuscripts collecting dust in the side drawer of our desk, the stack of rejection letters yellowing at the bottom of the inbox, the stacks of books lying idly about: some half-read and others ignored and collecting dust, the reminders of over-due bills and the collection of unfinished crafts projects and broken toys stuffed carelessly in boxes in the corner of the spare room.

… And then lunge ahead with reckless abandon like a child with a new toy on Christmas morning, to something new and shiny and exciting, all the while hoping and praying we won’t trip and fall as we leap over the past and into the future.

As Orson Wells once noted…

“Let us pray!”

There’s been a great hullabaloo about “the Battery Problem” with the new iPhone 4S. Lot’s of stink and griping about yet another lousy product from Apple.

Sadly, a lot of those making the noise are industry professionals who should know better, but don’t seem to care. Never mind the problems galore that devices using Google’s Android operating system, or Microsoft’s mobile device OS seem to routinely suffer.

It’s all about bashing one of the top technology companies in the world just because it’s Apple.

If anyone had really been paying attention to ‘the problem’ and not the symptom, it might have dawned on them that all devices currently running iOS 5.0 were being affected . Which means iPads, iPods and iPhones. Even those already owned and only recently upgraded to the new iOS version… were suddenly having the same problem!

Which means, folks, that the problem is not in the hardware. So can we stop griping about the battery… please?

Where the problem is… is in the power management routines in the Operating System… caused by the enabling of features in the hardware that until now had been purposely left  switched ‘off’… because the functions weren’t enabled in previous releases of iOS.

This is intelligent product life-cycle planning. Building in features and functions you know you want to include but not enabling functionality because you’re going to turn it and other features on in future releases of the operating system.

In my opinion, this is a nice bonus for the device owner as it certainly goes along way in proving the ROI on cost-of-ownership. It is not ‘ building a fat product full of useless technology’.

… unlike some products on the marketplace that obsolesce as soon as a ‘new and improved’ product is released because they don’t bother to think past now, or don’t give a damn about the cash-cow … I mean, the end-user.

As a systems engineer, I have first hand experience with just how touchy it can be to get it ‘just right’ … and it can go wrong so easily. With a major OS release there are thousands of potential problems that can come back to bite you.

Thankfully, the problem’s been found, the code’s been fixed and is being tested, and soon the symptom will go away. Apple does a fantastic job of it, thanks in part to it’s corporate culture, but also to the dedication of its engineers and designers to product quality.

And just a note to the whiners: I’ve run into power management issues on products from every manufacturer of laptop, notebook and mobile device manufactured over the past twenty plus years.

…and I expect to see more of them in the future.

I’ll tell you why later.

 

Playwright Arthur Laurents (center) is shown with collaborators Richard Rodgers (seated) and Stephen Sondheim as they begin work on the new musical Do I Hear a Waltz? in New York City in December 1964. Laurents died on Thursday at age 93.

Photo: AP


May 6, 2011

Playwright Arthur Laurents, best known for writing the books for the landmark Broadway musicals Gypsy and West Side Story, died Thursday at age 93.

Laurents started his career in radio and later wrote Hollywood film scripts. But his big career break came on the Broadway stage in the late 1950s, when both Gypsy and West Side Storypremiered. Laurents wrote the script for both musicals and later directed two revivals ofGypsy, with Angela Lansbury and Tyne Daly in the title role.

More at: NPR.

 

Longtime friends and colleagues gathered at the New York Public Library last Friday afternoon to honor legendary editor and publisher Margaret K. McElderry, in a program called “Lessons from a Literary Legend.”

The atmosphere was celebratory and at many times, jovial, as speakers told stories, reminisced, and paid tribute to a woman who, as the NYPL’s Jeanne Lamb said, “touched all of us and inspired us.”

An audio recording of the event is available here.

This is a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman. It is funny, heartfelt and will have you alternately in tears and stitches.

The Outer Alliance is a group of SF/F writers who have come together as allies for the advocacy of LGBT issues in literature. Made up of individuals of all walks of life, our goal is to educate, support, and celebrate LGBT contributions in the science-fiction and fantasy genres.

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