Tuesday, November 11

from the buzzkiller.net executive summit, held at the Kezar Bar in Cole Valley, USA:

summit summary: putting the blog page right up front seemed like a great way to give the site a more current, less static feel. but that line of thinking ignored the fact that we do not blog enough. we realize that the splash-page blog, untended, serves as evidence of our slackness.

resolution: we will blog more.

Wednesday, October 15


From: Adam Palmer
Date: Oct. 10, 2003
Subject: submission, courtesy of the Washington Post

Saw this article on Drudge, then read it and thought you guys would get a kick out of the third paragraph.
--Adam Palmer
Princeton Student Sued Over Paper on CD Copying
By Ben Berkowitz
Thursday, October 9, 2003; 6:07 PM

LOS ANGELES - Three days after a Princeton graduate student posted a paper on his Web site detailing how to defeat the copy-protection software on a new music CD by pressing a single computer key, the maker of the software said on Thursday it would sue him.

In a statement, SunnComm Technologies Inc. said it would sue Alex Halderman over the paper, which said SunnComm's MediaMax CD-3 software could be blocked by holding down the "Shift" key on a computer keyboard as a CD using the software was inserted into a disc drive.

"SunnComm believes that by making erroneous assumptions in putting together his critical review of the MediaMax CD-3 technology, Halderman came to false conclusions concerning the robustness and efficacy of SunnComm's MediaMax technology," it said.

SunnComm, which trades on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, said it has lost more than $10 million of its market value since Halderman published his report.

The software was used on a CD, Anthony Hamilton's "Comin' From Where I'm From," released last month. Halderman, who has done research in the past on other CD protection technologies, said the software could also be disabled by stopping a driver the software loads on the computer when the CD is played.

SunnComm alleged Halderman violated criminal provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in disclosing the existence of those driver files.

Halderman -- who received an undergraduate degree from Princeton earlier this year and is now pursuing a doctorate in computer science with an emphasis on computer security -- said he had not yet heard directly from SunnComm in regards to litigation but was unconcerned.

"I'm still not very worried about litigation under the DMCA, I don't think there's any case," he told Reuters. "I don't think telling people to press the 'Shift' key is a violation of the DMCA."

A spokesman for BMG, the unit of Bertelsmann AG that licensed SunnComm's software and released the Hamilton CD, declined to comment on the planned suit.

The music industry, claiming a sharp decline in CD sales is the result of digital piracy through online file-sharing services, has worked to develop methods to secure music on discs and restrict its copying.

Halderman's graduate advisor at Princeton is Ed Felten, a computer science professor who once sued the Recording Industry Association of America in a challenge to the constitutionality of the DMCA.

The RIAA had threatened action under the DMCA against Felten and colleagues after they said they would publish a paper disclosing flaws in an industry security initiative. That suit was eventually dismissed.

Spend a dime on a gerund, please

From: Chris Snapp
Date: Oct. 9, 2003
Subject: "I am not making this up."

[ed note: who said that?]

Sheesh - it's hard enough to avoid gibberish as a flack - now the advertisers are jamming up the works with gobbledy-gook?

This is a verbatim clip from today's Line56 e-Business Weekly [b2bbulletin@line56.com]:

Spend Data Management (SDM) noun.
Next-generation product solutions employing standards-based
strategies to leverage spend data for catalyzing ROI from sourcing
and ERP initiatives (Example: Global leaders embracing Zycus SDM to
achieve spend visibility and compliance)


Tuesday, October 14

Incentiary device

From: Jenni Hilton
Date: Oct. 7, 2003
Subject: I have one to add...

Hi - I worked at a sports marketing agency and they used "incentivize" in their presentations, much to my dismay...great web site!


Jenni Hilton
Marketing Manager

PC Remote Control, Asset Management & Computer Lab Software

[ed. note: nice mix of businesses at the end there.]

Monday, September 29

Five For Flighting

Overfunded bubble-baby startups may (please Gawd) be a strictly 20th-century phenomenon, but buzzwords will still crop up. Our gimlet-eyed field agents are on the case:
From: "Ault, Rob"
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2003 16:31:17 -0400
To: "'teeth@buzzkiller.net'"

I saw three buzzwords today that need to be killed before they spread, so I thought I'd send them to you.

The words are

Flight,v. tr., as in "flight new commitments." The translation is "to schedule."

Flighting, gerund, as in "coordinate with John's strategy for flighting." I think "scheduling" would do just fine.

Syndicate, v. tr., as in "syndicate the plan with corporate." In the context of the original sentence, "share" with corporate would work well.

Rob Ault

Tuesday, August 12

Carly Corner

HP yesterday held what it called "Big Bang 2," its launch of over 100 consumer products, most of which would have had a hard time getting mentioned on gizmodo on their own ("HP launches slightly different camera!"). The event, held far enough west on Manhattan to make the site almost unreachable except by Segway, was memorable for one thing: in the keynote, Carly Fiorina seemed to criticize HP's habit of giving its products impossible-to-remember names. When holding up the new HP Scanjet 4670 Scanner, she said something to the effect of "The 4670 will .. actually I don't like the name. I prefer to call it 'Thin Mint'..." (I had dropped my reporters pad in excitement, thus the paraphrase). She kept calling it "thin mint" in the rest of her presentation.

The nickname doesn't make much sense: the scanner is sort of thin, but is neither mint colored nor breath-freshening when chewed. Still, it is a refreshing sign that perhaps real names are coming to a world that seems to take its cues from from the IRS.

we solute you

A grateful shout out to the Fast Company blog for pointing out a crack in our beaker. We've changed the motto to "pouring solvent on your 'solution,'" dropping the "confused," previously un-remarked-upon (and possibly previously un-viewed) "dropping the solvent in your 'solution.'" Salutations.

In our customary frenzy of blogging and linking, we couldn't help but notice that Heath Row, Fast Company's in-house Social Capitalist and blog critic, put on the rose-tinted raver shades to read yesterday's NYT piece on Fast Company by David Carr.

Carr's view:
"...Fast Company is clearly an enterprise that is staring down its own obsolescence. Since being bought in 2000 for an astounding $360 million by Gruner & Jahr USA, the American publishing division owned by Bertelsmann, Fast Company has swerved into the ditch....The number of advertising pages it carried last year were a little more than a third of the 2000 total. Newsstand sales — a good indicator of salience in the marketplace of ideas — are half of what they were in 2000. The jargon that drove the magazine — 'the brand of you' and 'social capitalist,' — seems as quaint and beside the point as the Pets.com sock puppet."

Row's evaluation of the article, posted on FC's weblog, Fast Company Now:
"the future painted by the piece looks bright."

Hm. The only notable reference to the future in Carr's piece (which makes a passing reference to "the ashes of the unfortunately named eCompany Now,") is a quote from John A. Byrne, FC's new editor, who says: "There is nothing but upside here."

Wednesday, August 6

Eyes Only: Fire-Grilled salads!

Truly amazing stuff. A friend of the language (name withheld until we hear different) forwarded something intended solely for those with drops of Kool-Aid hanging from their chins. This intercepted communique was meant to remain snugly between Bain and the BK Lounge. But like a greasy patty, it slipped out and onto the buzz-sawing room floor. On the Internet, there is no five-second rule.

From: "jed morninducat"
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 09:19:57 -0500
To: teeth@buzzkiller.net
Subject: We have a winner

Bain and Company accidentally e-mailed me a PPT presentation prepared for Burger King. The first slide was a classic. Titled "Salad Strategic Objective Statement," it read:

“Burger King will leverage its Fire-Grilled core asset and cooking advantage to be a potent competitor in the salads segment beginning in 2004. Burger King will offer a portfolio of standout, break-through salads to take advantage of market trends and consumer taste shifts, and significantly boost restaurant profitability”

ed. note: credit to Bain for the high-brow hyphen in "break-through." And I don't know about y'all, but this is precious inside info - as soon as the market opens, I'm shorting Mickey D (NYSE: MCD) big-time.

Friday, June 13

On the heels of our 10/15/02 post, this just in fr...

On the heels of our 10/15/02 post, this just in from Adam Behar, of Avidcenter.org, a worthy institution. Mr. Behar contends that the smug and unoriginal buzz of journalists in general - and us in particular - could use a little tamping down. Bonus element: writing tips for Joel Brinkley of the NYT...
I really enjoy when the media create their own cliches. My favorite is, "The announcement came on the heels of..." Broadcast and print can't live without it; I did a "google" search for the phrase and it confirmed by intuition: it's everywhere and, truthfully, quite embarrassing. I don't think your ilk is even aware of it. Makes you feel sorry for the much neglected "after." Why fall back on this cliche? It's a journalist who doesn't have enough confidence in his own writing, senses that the words themselves are not adequate to the job. He's selling his writing, creating artificial drama. Sad.

And of the resignation at the NY Times? Even sadder, because it's driven by ego and ambition. Can't let the poor intern or stringer have a byline, because it's all about my brand. Got to keep the illusion going. What makes me sick is that reporters--and, by the looks of your website, you guys are no exception--are mostly motivated by an inflated sense of self. And, I have to tell you, self-importance is just not a super attractive quality. Oh, I'm sorry, you guys are really guardians of democracy. I almost forgot.

I think of my brother and, even with his ph.d and m.d., he's as modest and unassuming as they come. There's something nice about that. Or my dad, a literary critic and retired professor, who's not trying so hard to show the world how smart he is.

>From today's New York Times (Joel Brinkley):

"...an important step along the path toward the envisioned "road map" peace agreement that calls for establishment of a Palestinian state by 2005."

Critique: don't adopt the administration's PR language. Call it what it is: a plan.

"Hamas's leaders still had to work to come to agreement among themselves before they could make an deal with Mr. Abbas."

Critique: Brinkley needs an editor or a better ghost-writer. don't need among themselves, since it's clear that the agreement refers to Hamas leaders.: "Hamas' leaders still had to come to agreement before they could make a deal with Mr. Abbas."

"In any case, Hamas has agreed to cease-fires more than once before since the latest uprising began in the fall of 2000. But they have always quickly broken down, with each side accusing the other for rekindling the violence."

Critique: Why "for rekindling" Better: "In any case, Hamas has agreed to cease-fires since the latest uprising began in fall 2000. But they have always quickly broken down, with each side accusing the other of rekindling the violence."

[end of transmission]
ed note: Solid points all around. Extra credit for slipping in a little PR on behalf of overachieving family members.