Showing posts from February, 2009

Don’t Judge Too Quickly

These 5 commercials are from Ameriquest Mortgage Comp in the U.S. and are all hilarious in their own right. Not quite the type of ad that you’d expect to see from a building society in the UK, though.Great Stuff!

£30K compensation for another ‘grape slip-up’

From CPD Webinars 23/02/09: Jeanette Plummer, 62, has been awarded nearly £30,000 in compensation after she slipped on two grapes and broke her shoulder in a Marks & Spencer store in Bath. The fall, in October 2005, left her needing a shoulder joint replacement  operation.

"The fall has really had an effect on my life. I'm now restricted as to what I can do. I'm really glad to get the compensation money,” Mrs Plummer said.

Louise Hart, a partner at Bath law firm Withy King which represented Mrs Plummer, said "It has taken three years to resolve this hotly contested matter but we are pleased to have finally agreed an out-of-court settlement with Marks & Spencer.  We feel strongly that the accident could have been avoided if the grapes had been sold in zipped bags and a more effective cleaning policy had been in place to deal with any food spills.  When these accidents are caused by faulty products or the negligent actions of others, it is only …

Gmail Outage: the ‘beginning of the end for Cloud Computing’

From the Financial Times 25.02.09:Google's e-mail service, used by more than 100m people, suffered a global crash yesterday, raising concerns about the world's growing reliance on web services.The Gmail failure lasted more than two hours from about 1.30am on the US west coast, hitting users in Europe and Asia  hardest as America slept.The internet giant said its monitoring systems had alerted it that consumer and business accounts worldwide could not access e-mail and apologised for the inconvenience.It is the worst failure to date for Gmail, a browser-based e-mail service that has been growing at a rate of 40 per cent a year by user numbers and gaining on its bigger rivals, Yahoo Mail and Microsoft's Hotmail....The crash is a blow to Google's ambitions for business e-mail and applications that it delivers over the internet. Users of its Google Apps Premier Edition, which charges $50 per account for services including Gmail, complained on support forums yesterday."…

Pet Peeve of the Week II – Dictaphones

I’ve long found Dictaphones in lectures inexplicably annoying. As devices go, they’re actually quite unobtrusive and once switched on, there isn’t any sound or other annoying attribute to contend with - unlike laptops. However, it’s the users of Dictaphones who are the problem in my experience. To be fair, though, there are quite a few foreign students on my LLM course who make use of Dictaphones and I can absolutely see the merit in them recording lectures and seminars. I’d even go as far as saying it’s a good idea for those students whose first language isn’t English and who might be assisted by hearing the content back a second time.However, there are a couple of UK students in two of my units who hold law degrees from the UK and who still record lectures and seminars. While I might be vaguely convinced to see the point behind recording lectures at this level, to do the same with seminars is a step too far. Are they so unsure of their note-taking ability that they need to record ev…

Laptops in Lectures

I came across this amusing photo via Digg a while ago and I’m reminded just how true the message behind it is in almost every lecture I attend.  For what it’s worth, I’ve never typed notes in a lecture on a laptop or netbook; besides the temptation for distraction, I regard it as a courtesy to my fellow students not to irritate them with the constant tapping of the keys.  Others, though, don’t share my good manners.In my competition law seminar the other day, I was amused to observe a student sitting in front of me sampling the highs and lows of what the internet has to offer while she should have been participating in the discussion regarding the ins and outs of oligopolies.  I guess that’s the inevitable downside of having a laptop with you at all times and fast WI-FI internet access – particularly where students are concerned.  We’re not, as a bunch, renowned for having the longest attention spans.

Happy Birthday Law Actually

Although it’s difficult to believe, today marks Law Actually’s second birthday. Time certainly goes quickly and in those two years, this blog has seen in excess of a two hundred posts.It’s interesting to look back at the nascent stages of Law Actually; on 19th February 2007 and in my first post, my uncertainty as to the wisdom of setting up a second blog was clear: “I’ve bravely decided to start a new blog, the principal reason being that my original [blog – F1 Central] was becoming just too much of a dumping-ground for the multitude of issues (besides F1) that I started to cover.”Before that I had been blogging over at F1 Central which has withered and died completely in the last 12 months or so.In that initial post on Law Actually, I also highlighted my tendency to veer off at tangents:“...I’ll still diverge and digress at most given opportunities (on both blogs) but at least this way, there will be a fundamental divide between F1 and Law(ish) related-thingies.”Obviously, some thin…

Dissertation Dilemma

I can deny it no longer: I’m in a bit of a quandary over the proposed title for my dissertation. I’ve been mulling over a few ideas for the past 3 weeks or so but can’t really say I’m any closer to making a final decision. I need to set up an appointment to meet with a lecturer (quite whom depends on what area of law I choose) to discuss my dissertation during the next couple of weeks and have to submit my dissertation synopsis by the middle of next month. Time is quickly running out.Late last year I announced that I had one potential dissertation topic in mind: the regulation of virtual worlds. This seemed an obvious choice at the time as I had long found the area interesting, it’s undoubtedly topical and the form the legal response should take is wide open to debate. Now, I’m not so sure that this would be the right move.My main fear is that I don’t want to go lock-stock-and-barrel down the whole ‘regulatory theorist’ route if I can at all help it. Realistically, perhaps it would b…

If Valentine’s Day cards told the truth…

If romance has well and truly deserted you and/or you’re a hardcore valentine’s cynic, this will no doubt appeal.  I stumbled across this gem on via Digg a couple of days ago and the full list is well worth checking out.

Calibri Font Proves Letter was Fraudulent

I discovered this intriguing story over at the Office Rocker blog earlier:“Lucille Hester who was accused of fraud after reading out her half brother’s supposed posthumous letter.  The letter said to be written by football star and former Olympic sprinter, Bob Hayes, was read out on national TV.  Later it was shown to be using Calibri – a font that didn’t exist before Office 2007 and wasn’t invented until 2003.  Hayes died in 2002.”

Canned Mosquitoes

From CPD Webinars 09.02.08:A woman has been awarded compensation after she was unfairly dismissed from her job for raising health and safety concerns after fleas bit her.
Waitress Maria Moon, 46, was fired from her job at Hafan y Môr holiday centre in Pwllheli, Gwynedd in May 2008. The tribunal accepted that the reason she had been sacked was because she raised health and safety issues after suffering the flea bites in a chalet where she lived.
In May 2008 she was dismissed, allegedly because management found that the coffee shop was overstaffed.  It was decided by the tribunal that although there was overstaffing no-one else was seriously considered.  The tribunal said, it was far more likely that her dismissal was triggered by her having raised health and safety issues.This reminded me somewhat of that infamous stunt Bill Gates pulled last week at the TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) conference in a bid to raise the profile of his charitable work in third world count…

Noise in the Night

When I finally got to bed last night, any visions of getting a restful night’s sleep quickly evaporated.  I was pretty tired having returned to finish off some Company Law preparation for a seminar later today after foolishly opting to take an hour or so out watching Whitechapel on ITV which quickly led into other TV viewing – you know how these things go down.  Just after 2AM we were woken by a banging, thudding sound that occurred every few minutes but without any obvious pattern. It seemed to be coming from outside or just inside the front of the house.  Before I realised the time in my sleepy stupor, I had initially put it down to the guy next door leaving for work as he does at 5.45.  Somewhat annoyed, I got up and investigated: looked out of the bedroom windows, went downstairs and looked out there too.  It was definitely something at the front of the house and seemed near the front door.  I opened that and peered out – nothing.  This was getting tiresome.I went back and report…

Privacy Law – In Need of a Legislative Broom?

From Outlaw 03/02/09:Parliament will investigate privacy law in the UK and may give the law a 'nudge', Justice Minister Jack Straw has said. A select committee of MPs will look into how the law has developed and how it is being implemented by courts, he said.How has the law developed? I can think of some fairly colourful responses to that. For the present, however, I think the following would all be particularly apt:· Slowly  · Painfully  · Inconsistently  · Awkwardly· Incoherently  There are a bunch of other words I could include but a list has to stop somewhere. Of course, many of these descriptions are also applicable to how the law has been implemented by the courts. “Historically, the UK has not had a law of privacy, but one has emerged in recent years that has combined confidentiality laws covering the exchange of information with human rights laws protecting the right to a private life.Courts have ruled in several cases that the publication of information violates thes…

All Snowed In – Not the Weather for Law

The Law School had the good sense to cancel all classes today as a load more snow was dumped from the heavens overnight. My schedule dictates that I don’t go in to Uni on Thursdays but I wouldn’t have much fancied my chances in making it all there had I had lectures. Instead, I was able to get a load of my company law notes done but, suffice it to say, didn’t get quite as much done as I’d planned. Story of my life, it seems. Today, when I realised we’d been (partially) snowed in for a second consecutive morning, I deliberated whether to try and make it in at all. Still, I thought I might as well try, as I feared I’d be plagued with guilt if I just stayed at home and made no attempt to wrestle with the inclement conditions out there. Fortunately, I had the foresight to check my Uni email account before leaving and learned of the cancellation before getting my ‘feets’ cold and wet outside.Another day of company law notes then.

The ‘WTF’ Snuggie Blanket

Seeing as the UK is in the unrelenting grip of a cold snap at the moment, this might just be the perfect product to keep you ‘warm and toasty’ this winter.  Or maybe not.This gem of advertising parody can only be truly appreciated once you’ve seen the original ‘snuggie’ ad which started it all off.  I actually saw the parody first and found it difficult to believe that the graphical content was really from a ‘genuine’ ad and that this ‘blanket with sleeves’ was out there on the market.  But, with consumerism being what it is (particularly in America) it really IS out there, in all its hopeless glory.  Enjoy:

Google Developments

Google have really been cranking up the creative lever recently and have released a number of improvements to their already excellent Gmail service.I’ve been a big fan of Gmail dating back to September 2004 when I first signed up to an account and quickly recognised Google’s email offering for what it was: an online e-mail service that could rival the functionality of locally-based email accessed through a ‘client’.   Up to that point web-based email was undoubtedly the poor relation of email solutions but Google’s offering quickly changed all that. Back then, Gmail didn’t offer IMAP support so there was no choice but to use it via a browser but the huge benefits of keeping email ‘out there’ in cyberspace were nonetheless obvious. And this is years before the phrases ‘Cloud Computing’ and ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) were ever coined.Today, of course, people who aren’t keeping their email in the ‘cloud’ are just blatantly behind the curve and potentially courting disaster should the…

Pretty Damn Cold

Yes, God help us - another cold snap has descended on the UK. When I first heard about the second very cold spell of this (very cold) winter heading our way I was none too pleased. Now it’s arrived, my spirits have sunk even further. Despite being a timber-framed house and being by far the most modern I’ve lived in for the past few years, it’s also easily the coldest.We’ve actually escaped quite lightly from the snow – so far, anyway. Still, there was enough for my girlfriend to give her customary shriek of delight this morning on seeing snow outside, though her mood dampened when she remembered she had to go to work. I’m meant to be in the city all day tomorrow for my dreaded ‘alternate Tuesday schedule’ – 3 seminars and a lecture, though with more snow predicted for tonight, I’m hoping I’m not going to have too much of a time of it trying to get in tomorrow morning.In the meantime, I’ve barricaded myself in my office with enough layers of clothing on to challenge even the Michelin …