Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Tiffany Outlet bites the dust

Well, I’d LOVE to lay claim to this – seems that the shonky Chinese website I complained about, Tiffany Outlet, has bitten the dust. Actually, it looks like the real Tiffany is suing the asses off a ton of shonky commercial websites, not just Tiffany Outlet. I’ve been campaigning against Tiffany Outlet I admit – via this blog, via Twitter and so on. I still have the email address for Tiffany Outlet – must send them an email to say “looks like you’re toast”. But I’m sure I’m just one of many poor sods that were taken in by shonky counterfeiters.

This is what the website of Tiffany Outlet used to look like:

And this is what it looks like now:

Notice anything? Oooh yeah baby: looks like Tiffany Outlet has been served Notice and the site has been taken down. If you go to the site, you’ll see a whole host of legal documents. As someone with a law degree, I naturally waded my way through them to find the cause of action. And here’s the gist:

  • The plaintiff, Tiffany (NJ) LLC, filed an action against various unknown business entities who operate websites that advertise and sell counterfeit jewelry allegedly bearing Tiffany’s registered trademarks;
  • A number of these entities also incorporate “Tiffany” into their website domain names;
  • It seems the named defendants (who appear in Schedule A) are caught within the Judicial District of Nevada – presumably because they were distributing or selling into that jurisdiction via interactive commercial websites;
  • Willful and intentional infringement and counterfeiting of Tiffany’s trademarks allegedly took place in total disregard of Tiffany’s rights and have taken place despite the defendants knowledge that their use of Tiffany’s trademarks was and is in direct contravention of Tiffany’s rights;
  • The defendant’s registration of several domain names, which incorporate at least one of Tiffany’s registered trademarks, constitutes cyberpiracy in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d); and
  • Irreparable injury to Tiffany has been caused by the defendant’s unlawful activities.

There appear to be 223 defendants Tiffany is hot on the trail of. I checked out the websites of about 20 of them and they now all display the Notice To Defendants.

I need to look into this further and found out the current state of the lawsuit. But I just had to do a quick post because I’m very pleased that Tiffany is taking action against shonky Chinese counterfeiters. I think the cheap knock-offs we’ve all no doubt bought in China, Hong Kong, Thailand etc probably brought us momentary satisfaction but, let’s face it, denied the rights of the legitimate maker of the product. Time has come for the knockoff sites and counterfeiters to bite the dust.

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November 10, 2011 at 8:05 am 87 comments

Taking a break

So I’m still settling into my new life here in New Zealand. There’s been so much to do I simply haven’t had time to update the ThinkingShift blog. I’m going to take a break for awhile from this blog but you can still find me on my other two blogs –  my photography blog, ChinchillaBluePhotography and my blog on life in New Zealand, The Daily Oxford. Both these blogs have a quick photo or post so they are easy to keep going with. ThinkingShift posts require research and reflection – I don’t have the time for this right now. And you can always find me on Twitter.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has regularly visited ThinkingShift.

July 2, 2010 at 12:18 am 2 comments

Back soon!

I will be doing a looooong ranting blog post soon about the Australian removalist company that moved our household stuff here to New Zealand. Basically, some furniture was destroyed (an antique dining table, which as you know with antiques, once there’s damage the value diminishes) and various other precious items were either damaged beyond repair or smashed.

We are in the midst of coping with all this, including fighting it out with the removalist company.  So I’ll be back in a week’s time or so and I’ll bring you photos of the carnage. If I don’t get satisfaction from the removalists, I’ll be naming and shaming. Watch this space!!

June 5, 2010 at 2:28 am Leave a comment

ThinkingShift break

This is it folks. I’m within days of leaving Australia via a few days stay in Sydney with a wonderful friend. Then winging it to New Zealand. The movers are coming today and might disconnect me. I’m not sure what sequence they follow when packing up a house and its stuff. I don’t know what internet access I’ll have whilst I’m in transit, so there might not be any posts for maybe 2 weeks. But then once I’m back online in New Zealand – I’ll be back!

Meanwhile, you can check out my new blog – The Daily Oxford – which chronicles my thoughts on leaving Australia for a new life in NZ. Plenty of my photos on that blog using the iPhone – I’m really liking that genre of photography.  And of course my photography blog, ChinchillaBluePhotography.

Can I take this opportunity to thank all my friends in Australia and those in New Zealand who have wished me well. And to you, dear reader, for continuing to read the ramblings and rantings that is ThinkingShift. Adieu.

April 27, 2010 at 10:09 pm 1 comment

Tiger or chocolate?

Happy Chinese New Year to all ThinkingShift readers.

2010 is the Year of the (Metal) Tiger.

And if you think about tigers, they are sleek and powerful, ready to leap and attack but, at the same time, they are noble creatures and protective of their kind. So 2010 will be a year in which we should all think about where to place our paws before leaping and landing – just like the tiger does. I think it’s going to be a year of upheavals and turbulence. It won’t be a calm year. There will be some thrashing around, some surprises, lots of challenges. The last time it was the year of the metal tiger was 1950 and that year saw a war (Korean War) and plenty of change as the post-WWII period saw societal and technological shifts. And because a tiger is swift and assured, I reckon 2010 will be a year of world-wide rapid change.

The combination of metal and tiger I think will be very powerful and together they can accomplish great feats. Under a tiger reign, it’s possible that Tiger Woods might have a good year 🙂

Disclaimer: I have a very amateur interest in Chinese astrology and Feng Shui, so don’t rely on anything I’ve said above! In fact, it might be better if I wish all ThinkingShift readers a Happy Valentine’s Day. Check out this way too cute video from LOLCats.

And whilst you’re watching, enjoy this box of chocolates, yum.

February 14, 2010 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

There be dragons

I’m not sure if I’ve told you about the fantasy novel I’m writing with three women. I think I’ve briefly mentioned it but no details. All my life I’ve been a reader. Always have my nose stuck in a book. But mainly it’s been historical fiction, non-fiction history or popular science and biographies. I have a confession dear reader. You may gasp. I think I might be amongst a handful of people on this planet who has not read any Harry Potter books. And I’ve never even watched Star Wars. So here’s the ironic thing: me, writing a fantasy novel.

As a kid, I just didn’t like the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs business. Bambi was way too cutsey pie for me. I do remember reading Wind in the Willows and that has remained a favourite. But I never got into the whole fantasy world thing. But one day, I was asked by a woman in China to write with her and another woman who lives in Texas. They already knew each other and found me on Flickr, where I run a group. Both of them were well down the road of writing together. The woman in China is an American who is a published author and poet. Gulp. But we started off writing together. I provided the plot and away we went. Working collaboratively on a wiki.

Unfortunately, the woman in China had to return to the US because the Chinese changed their visa conditions for foreigners. Now she’s in California and too busy to write for the moment. So that left the Texan lady and me. She actually came to Australia last October to meet me. We get on very well and have continued writing.

Because I’ve never read any fantasy novels to speak of, I sought the help of a Gen Y person who promptly looked at me like I was an alien when I announced I’d never been into fantasy novels.  I was given the strict instruction that the number one author I should read is Robin Hobb. I was a tad worried that I was going to encounter mystical dragons, flying wands, magicians or a host of unbelievable creatures. I can cope with Avatar because there is a theme I can relate to: pillaging of the environment. But when it comes to talking dragons or cats that can morph into a human or shift shape, that’s harder for me.

So I bought the Farseer Trilogy and have been engrossed ever since. I have even missed my train stop a couple of times. I am staggered by Hobb’s imagination and how closely you can relate to the characters, including a wolf. I don’t understand why she is not as well-known as JK Rowling. Her writing is rich with visual imagery, action-packed and emotive. I plan to read all of her works. This trilogy has been a great way to dip my toes into fantasy writing but I seek your help dear reader.

No doubt many of you have spent years reading fantasy of all sorts. So I’d like some recommendations. What’s your favourite fantasy novel? Who is your favourite fantasy author? What should I be reading? Help!

February 9, 2010 at 2:00 am 2 comments

No blue fairies

I saw Avatar the other night. I was wondering if I’d bother because I’m not a great fan of animation in films. Yep, Bambi and the whole Disney thing never appealed to me. But the premise of the film looked intriguing, so when a great friend said let’s go and see Avatar (plus Invictus) in one blockbuster evening, I was all for it. I am a great sci-fi fan but glimpses of those 10-feet tall, cat-like blue creatures in Avatar posters had me a bit worried that the film might be full of nasty aliens (why is it that our fear of the unknown is always played out in sci-fi as predator-like aliens out to destroy humans or conquer Earth?).

Anyway, I have to say that Avatar is mesmerising for its visual effects. And the blue aliens are no Tinkerbell-style blue fairies. If you haven’t seen it, rush to the cinema theatre now. I had a few minutes of hassle with the 3D business and trying to eat something whilst having the 3D glasses on in a dark theatre (we were in comfy Gold Class – the only way to watch a film). But after this, I was pulled into the Pandoran world. When the jellyfish-like creatures floating to and from the Tree of Souls are seemingly in front of your eyes, it’s quite an experience.

Aside from the fact that James Cameron is clearly some sort of genius for coming up with the 3D fusion camera system, the film is multi-layered and in my view concentrates on the notions of imperialism and complexity (because of the premise that the trees on Pandora form an intelligent, interconnected network and the Pandoran people are a part of this neural network).

It might depend on your country of origin as to how you view this film. I found it VERY uncomfortable, for example, watching the Tree of Voices come crashing down. There was a clear reference for me to the Norse story of the tree Yggdrasil, which supports the cosmos and, as it collapses, so does the universe. But if American, I can well imagine you viewing this as the World Trade Center toppling. Personally, I felt it was an indictment on globalisation and population explosion – our need for more space, more food, more everything means that the Amazonian rainforest is under threat and the habitats of remote tribes are shrinking due to urbanisation and the need for more farming land (for Maccas burgers).

I sensed references to some classic stories: Journey to the Center of the Earth with its imaginary, dangerous world full of giant lizards, subterranean oceans and humongous mushrooms; Dances with Wolves or The Last Samurai and the notion of a disenchanted army officer learning about a gentler culture and eventually protecting and fighting for that culture; and the Emerald Forest. Really, it’s the ultimate noble savage tale.

At first, the Na’vi—the humanoids indigenous to Pandora – look pretty weird but by the end of the film, you start to see them as attractive, which I think is the really clever thing about the film. These are not alien creatures to be feared and reviled; these are creatures that are expressionistically human. Should you be inclined, you can now learn Na’vi, which has about 1,000 words and was created by Paul Frommer, a professor at USC with a doctorate in linguistics. I’m planning to check it out as the language was very credible and quite beautiful. I’ve never liked the sound of Klingon as it doesn’t sound credible (sorry Klingon fans).  But I have to say the English used in the film grated on me: full of phrases and cliches that are so 2010 and not what you might imagine could be from 2154, the year the film is set in. In this sense, the narrative was somewhat limited. And couldn’t we have had a non-white male as the protagonist?

In fact, there were aspects of the story I found disappointing or predictable:

  • evil corporate dudes (and IMHO a miscasting of Giovanni Ribisi) who have plundered Earth’s natural resources and have travelled to Pandora to get their hands on Unobtainium. Pandora is full of spiritual, nature-loving types. Obvious big cat fight ahead between evil humans and gentle, noble savages;
  • an over-the-top psychopath, Colonel Quaritch, a marine hell bent on getting revenge on Jake Scully, the Na’vi, or anyone in close proximity to him;
  • an inconsistency with Sigourney Weaver’s character (and how good does she look for a woman aged 60. What the hell? she’s 60??). She starts off in the film as an angry, cigarette smoking scientist, with shades of Ellen Ripley, but ends up as Earth Mother;
  • Michelle Rodriguez playing….well, Michelle Rodriguez. Sneers, brooding looks, fabulously toned arms, toting guns and shooting bad guys – you get the picture;
  • Sam Worthington – I didn’t take to him. Bland, very one-dimensional;
  • an inconsistency in the storyline – at first we think Evil Corporation are after Unobtainium because they’ll rake in the profits but at the end of the film, we discover that Unobtainium could have saved the Earth;
  • the animals were a bit predictable: horses with six legs with some funky colours added;
  • but the plant life was impressive (particularly the phosphorescent Tree of Souls) and the long hair-braids of the Na’vi people, which allows them to create a physical link to the animals of Pandora and to their Na’vi ancestors through the Tree of Souls was genius.

Personally, I think Cameron’s Titanic is a far better film but Avatar sets the standard going forward for 3D films. I would have liked a less thinly written storyline. I also wasn’t keen on the film’s music or theme song by Leonna Lewis, which was cringingly like Titanic’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’. I don’t think this film is as mind-blowing as reviewers are saying but it’s visually breathtaking – so see it for that reason.

January 30, 2010 at 2:59 am 7 comments

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