Saturday, November 21, 2009

117 of My Favorite Albums Growing Up

I just got back from seeing the movie Pirate Radio. I really liked it (8 out of 10 stars for me), particularly the music. It was great listening to all that music I grew up to, and the movie reminded me just how much I miss "albums," something we seemed to have lost with the digital music revolution. Watching this movie inspired me to put the below collage together of 117 albums that most influenced me growing up. I'm sure I missed some, but this gives you an idea of what shaped my musical tastes. Other than grouping the same band/artist together, these are in no particular order. (Click to enlarge.)

117 of My Favorite Albums Growing Up
(In no particular order) - Click to Enlarge.


How many of these do you know? Did any have an impact on you? What great albums did I miss? What were some of your most influential records growing up?

Kevin

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gizmo5 / SIPphone Shareholders--Beware of Michael Robertson's History

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There have been rumors reported in the press that Gizmo5 (SIPphone) could be sold soon (now confirmed here). In a previous blog, I cautioned any prospective buyers to be sure and do full due diligence. I encouraged them to not just take Robertson at his word (something no one should ever do with someone like Michael Robertson), but be sure and take a full accounting of any code, data centers, and speak personally with each and every employee.

Today, I want to caution any Gizmo5/SIPphone shareholders. They should look at how Michael Robertson dealt with the 100-some-odd Shareholders at Linspire when he sold that company's assets.

Here is what happened at Linspire:

1. Robertson sold Linspire without any input or notice from the majority of individual Shareholders. Even large shareholders, such as myself, were kept completely in the dark.

2. Millions in cash is still missing and unaccounted for to Linspire shareholders.

3. Robertson sold all the Linspire assets in a secret, backroom deal that to this day the terms of which have never been disclosed to the Linspire shareholders. Linspire's assets were sold well over a year ago and Robertson hasn't given ANY report or accounting to the Linspire shareholders. As I predicted, it would require a lawsuit to get Robertson to tell shareholders what happened, and even after that, we still have no answers.

4. The only accounting that was made, was Robertson talking to the press, where he basically said he and his father-in-law, as preferred shareholders, would be the only ones to see anything from the sale.

5. To date, every Linspire common shareholder has lost 100% of their investment, without any notice from Robertson, who remains in hiding from Linspire shareholders. (Actually, ONE common shareholder, Tina Stahlke-Donaldson, was able to sell some of her shares back to the company at a nice profit, after Robertson forced the CFO to accommodate that transaction. Why the special treatment for this one female employee? More on that in a future blog.)

Because VC's are involved at Gizmo5/SIPphone, they may force Robertson to behave more ethically there than he did at Linspire. However, my advice to any Gizmo5 shareholder would be to not sign anything without a full accounting BEFOREHAND. My instincts tell me that you, just like the Linspire common shareholders, could also walk away with nothing, even if Robertson does. Michael will want big numbers to be splashed around in the press so he can pretend to have had a success, but in the end, how much did individual shareholders make? (Thousands of shareholders lost millions at MP3.com, and Linspire shareholders lost all their investment and STILL don't even know what Linspire sold for.) If you are in fact going to get the shaft, you better have Michael explain himself BEFORE the deal is done. If Gizmo5 sells to a big company, that company may never disclose the actual purchase price, and if Robertson treats you the way he did Linspire shareholders, HE will never tell you either.

I'm not sure why anyone would pay more than a few million for Gizmo5, but even if Robertson were to sell it for a big number, I predict the common shareholders still see little to nothing. The VCs will likely have 3x or more liquidation preferences, and knowing Robertson as I do, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he will somehow get the same treatment with his shares. Even if someone was crazy enough to value Gizmo5 for tens of millions, watch how quickly Robertson can "creatively" make sure that as much as possible drops to his pockets, not the common shareholder's.

Why would Robertson suddenly get generous with employees and common shareholders?
He is the greediest person I know. Remember, this is the same person who tried to have several former employees arrested for "embezzlement" in a failed attempt to try and take back their severance payments. When those attempts were flatly rejected by the San Diego police department, he then sued these employees to get his greedy little hands on THEIR severance. All that failed energy, work, and harassment over a couple hundred thousand dollars?!? Why would any expect Robertson to suddenly grow a conscience?

Ask questions BEFORE any deal is done, otherwise, you could end up just like the Linspire shareholders, with shares of stock worth less than toilet paper and no answers.

I hope I'm wrong, and the Gizmo5/SIPphone shareholders actually see a return on their investment. I'll be sure and report if they do. At the end of the day, Robertson's real worth will not be determined by how much money he lines his own pockets with (like he did at MP3.com), but how much do ALL the investors make? THAT is the number that REALLY matters.

Kevin

Michael Robertson, the greediest man I know.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Michael Robertson Throws MP3tunes Customers Under The Bus As He Loses His SECOND Court Case This Week

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Michael Robertson isn't having a very good week.

After losing a motion for Summary Judgment earlier this week to try and see the Freespire.com website taken down, today Robertson was dealt a crushing blow. Judge William Pauley ruled that Michael Robertson can be rejoined as a defendant in the copyright infringement case against Robertson and his company MP3tunes. This means if the dozen plus record companies and publishing concerns who are suing Robertson for copyright infringement win, Robertson could be found personally liable. (Visit Robertson's blog to see how he prematurely claimed victory in this matter, only to have that earlier ruling reversed today.) Given the statutory damages in copyright infringement cases, this could be in the billions of dollars (as Robertson should know all too well, given his historical loss at MP3.com for copyright infringement). You can read the full ruling here.

But don't worry, Robertson has a defense. He's blaming the MP3tunes customers. THEY are the REAL copyright infringers, not him.

Michael Robertson throws MP3tunes customers under
the bus to defend himself against copyright infringement.
I have watched Robertson try to blame his employees for any copyright misdeeds at MP3tunes. Apparently he now has a new strategy, and Michael Robertson who likes to pretend to be the champion of consumer rights, is throwing MP3tunes customers under the bus as a way to defend himself from the alleged copyright infringement. From the ruling:

"MP3tunes argues that the Amended Complaint fails to allege any direct infringement by MP3tunes--that is, any volitional conduct by MP3tunes. Rather, the Amended Complaint establishes that MP3tunes' customers are the ones engaged in volitional acts of infringement."

In other words, "Hey, I didn't violate any copyright laws, MY CUSTOMERS DID!" Yikes!

Why would anyone want to be a customer of MP3tunes, given Robertson's position in this case? Do you really want to join a website, and if that site is sued for copyright violations, they then BLAME YOU for the infringement? The complaint goes on to say, "The person who actually presses the button to make the recoding supplies the necessary element of volition, not the person who manufactures, maintains, or, if distinct from the operator, owns the machine."

So Robertson creates a website, and because of how the site copies and stores files, YOU, an innocent, unsuspecting MP3tunes customer, could be blamed for any copyright infringement, simply for having used that site, because YOU "pushed the button." So much for Robertson defending his customers. I watched Robertson toss minority shareholders out of the way as he scrambled for a life raft as he sank Linspire. Now, he's tossing MP3tunes customers under the bus to defend his personal net worth. Not cool, but classic Robertson.

I would recommend to all my friends, family and associates to not be "pushing any buttons" at MP3tunes. If you do, Robertson will point the finger at you.

Kevin

Friday, October 16, 2009

Michael Robertson Loses in Court Again Today -- A Victory for Freedom of Speech!

Today, in a two-page ruling, Judge Steven R. Denton ruled against Michael Robertson in his motion for summary judgment with his lawsuit against me and the Freespire.com website. (Robertson wants to squash free speech and force freespire.com to be taken down because the site brings to light many of Robertson's questionable actions.) You can read the Tentative Ruling here, which was certified today in court.

Score: Freedom of Speech: 1 -- Michael Robertson: 0

In Judge Denton's ruling, he sites the nine different factors to be considered in such a trademark/domain name case, and then rightly concludes that the majority of these nine factors "weigh in the Defendant's favor." Score a point for freedom of speech.

A company can't force a site down on the basis of a trademark, just because the site is critical of that company or its management. Judge Denton addresses this concept in his ruling, "One of the ACPA's main objectives is the protection of consumers from slick internet peddlers who trade on the names and reputations of established brands. The practice of informing fellow consumers of one's experience with a particular service provider is surely not inconsistent with this ideal." For Robertson to prevail, he would have had to shown that I confused users at the Freespire.com website and that I then profited from that confusion. Considering I have never profited one dime from the Freespire.com site, that's a pretty ridiculous claim. Likewise, anyone can visit the freespire.com site and see if they think anyone could possibly be confused into assuming the site was part of Linspire.

I estimate (based on all the paper work filed by Robertson in the case), that so far Robertson has spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 on this lawsuit. I have spent next to nothing in my defense, and yet today I prevailed. It's nice having the law on your side. Lawyers have a saying, "If the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If neither is on your side, pound the table." Today Robertson blew thousands of dollars having his legal team "pound the table," but fortunately, the law and the facts carried the day in Judge Denton's courtroom this morning.

Michael Robertson loses. Judge Denton keeps
free speech alive at Freespire.com website.


As I've reported previously in my blog, the Freespire.com website is "dedicated to shedding light on the REAL Michael Robertson." (Visit: Freespire.com) I have seen Robertson go to great lengths to try and create a public persona which is very different from the one you will hear about from those who know him. Therefore, at Freespire.com, visitors can learn about the REAL Michael Robertson, directly from those who have worked closely with him.

I'm sure Robertson's lawyers get tired of losing, but as long as Robertson is crazy enough to pay them, I'm sure they'll gladly keep taking his money, even when they know the cases are groundless, no-win cases for Robertson. We all know what they say about a fool and his money...

Kevin

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Have Skype and eBay Lost Their Minds?

I hope not.

As an avid Skype user and an eBay shareholder (NASDAQ: EBAY), I hope there is no truth to the rumor that Skype may be considering spending crazy money on acquiring the lackluster Gizmo5. As an eBay shareholder (Skype's current parent company), I can certainly think of better things to be spending capital on than a seemingly desperate competitor that I have to believe must be drowning in red ink. Even if Skype can use some of Gizmo5 tech, they shouldn't overpay.

Having worked with Michael Robertson for six years as President and CEO for Linspire (another Robertson company), I know all his pitch techniques. Skype (or any other possible suitors), as part of any due diligence, should email me to talk. They'll want to review the public history in other "deals" Robertson has made. Skype should get a full accounting of Gizmo5's engineering team and speak with each engineer personally to find out how long they have been there. If it's tech and engineers Skype is looking for, they should make sure Gizmo5 still has any.

Have eBay and Skype lost their minds?

I have to believe this is just a rumor. I simply can't believe eBay and Skype would be interested in Gizmo5, at least not at the ridiculous numbers eluded to in some articles. I wouldn't be surprised if it was Robertson himself floating the rumors that he has suitors, all in an effort to drum up speculation of an acquisition. When Robertson sold MP3.com to Vivendi Universal, it became apparent soon after that Vivendi had paid tens of millions too much. Hopefully eBay and Skype are smarter than Vivendi was back then.

If eBay/Skype would be crazy enough to pay ANYWHERE NEAR $50 M for Gizmo5, then I have some swampland in Afghanistan they might be interested in.

Call me,

Kevin

Friday, July 31, 2009

Michael Robertson's Two Years of Silence to Linspire Shareholders

Michael Robertson loves to talk, except to shareholders.

Today, July 31, 2009, marks the two-year anniversary of me having resigned from Linspire. (I resigned after Michael Robertson tried to take advantage of several long-term employees, whom he later called embezzlers for having taken fair severance payments. Class-act move Robertson.)

At the time of my resignation, in an effort to save the company (which I was certain Robertson would destroy in short order), I offered to purchase control of the company by buying up stock for around $.50 a share (in cash). Robertson didn't even respond to my offer, and in under a year, the company was gone. Robertson tried to save face by saying he had sold the assets to Xandros in a back-room deal. Knowing this was a sham, and that Linspire stock was now worthless, I offered to let Robertson purchase my shares for ONE FIFTH of what I had offered to buy it for only ten months prior ($.10 per share). Of course, he knew the company wasn't worth anything and didn't accept the offer.

So, here we are, two years later, and around 100 shareholders have not heard what happened to their investment in Linspire. Anyone thinking of investing in Robertson should look carefully at how he has treated the Linspire shareholders, employees, customers, partners, etc.

Below is some toilet paper I purchased yesterday and a copy of my Linspire stock certificate. Can you guess which one is worth more?

One roll of toilet paper: $1.19


694,328 shares of Linspire stock: Worthless

At least the toilet paper is twin-ply, soft and absorbent.

I had offered to BUY Linspire shares at $.50 per share, and in the blink of an eye, Robertson had turned it into less than the value of a roll of toilet paper. Greedy, unethical AND incompetent. No wonder he's a coward to face the shareholders.

Kevin

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Michael Robertson Wins for the Craziest Digital Music Idea

Michael Robertson, always the wanna-be defender of the little guy (while stepping all over shareholders, former employees, vendors, customers, musicians, partners, copyright holders, etc.), asked in his latest blog for people to vote for the "Craziest Digital Music Ideas Ever."

Boy, he sure forget a whopper from his list:
My.MP3 - Michael Robertson's pet project which tanked MP3.com from a market cap in the billions to millions. MP3.com went public for over $25 per share, and ultimately sold for under $6 per share. (I'm not sure my dog could have done that poorly.) As usual with Robertson, many investors lost big and employees who held stock options were left underwater, and the artists and customers (who Robertson built MP3.com on the backs of) lost a once-promising website. Of course, Robertson made off big, even if most other shareholders didn't.
Why it was crazy: Because it blatantly violated copyright law, and handed MP3.com the largest judgment for copyright infringement in history. "The complex marvels of cyberspatial communication may create difficult legal issues; but not in this case. Defendant's (MP3.com) infringement of plaintiffs' copyrights is clear." ~ Judge Rakoff
When I get asked, "How do you start a small business?" I answer, "Buy a big one, let Michael Robertson run it, and wait awhile." Robertson never wanted to be known as a "one trick poney." I never understood that. What was his FIRST successful "pony?" Destroying MP3.com?
Kevin

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Video Tribute to Michael Jackson and 40 other "stars" who died too young.

I've been working with Jayson Haws on his first solo CD and it's just about finished. It's turning out to be an amazing collection of songs (more on that in a future blog). One of the songs on the CD is called "Stars." As I was listening to some of the early mixes of Stars, I couldn't help but think how appropriate the song was to the passing of not just Michael Jackson, but to the many "stars" who passed away far too young. Even though the song isn't finished, I asked Jayson if he wouldn't mind if I used it to pay tribute to Michael Jackson and the others. He was pleased to oblige.

So, here is my tribute to Michael Jackson and 40 others whose stars stopped shining far too soon.

How many of the 40 can you name? Which had the biggest impact on your life? Who did I miss? Post a comment and let me know. (After you watch the video, for the full list, scroll down. You can also scroll down for the lyrics.)



Click here to watch in Super High Def or to download.

Dedicated to Michael Jackson, Annie, Sara, and (in order of appearance)...

1. Kurt Cobain (27)
2. Steven Paul "Elliott" Smith (34)
3. Jimi Hendrix (27)*
4. Janis Joplin (27)*
5. Jim Morrison (27)*
6. Brian Jones (27)
7. Keith Moon (32)*
8. Jeff Buckley (30)
9. Freddie Mercury (45)*
10. The Notorious B.I.G. (24)
11. Tupac Shakur (25)
12. Heath Ledger (28)
13. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes (30)
14. Kevin Gilbert (29)*
15. Selena (23)
16. James Dean (24)
17. Marilyn Monroe (36)
18. John Belushi (33)*
19. Chris Farley (33)*
20. Phil Hartman (49)*
21. Jerry Garcia (53)
22. John Denver (53)*
23. Karen Carpenter (32)*
24. Bob Marley (36)
25. Buddy Holly (22)*
26. Ritchie Valens (17)
27. Marvin Gaye (44)
28. River Phoenix (23)
29. Aaliyah (22)
30. Ronnie Van Zant (29)
31. Stevie Ray Vaughan (35)
32. Soldiers*
33. Victims of 911*
34. Crew of the Columbia Space Shuttle
35. John F. Kennedy (46)*
36. John F. Kennedy, Jr. (38) & Robert F. Kennedy (42)
37. Princess Diana (36)
38. Elvis Presley (42)*
39. George Harrison (58)*
40. John Lennon (40)*

*Those who most impacted my life.

Here are the lyrics. (Used by permission. (C) 2009, Jayson Haws.)

Stars by Jayson A. Haws

Hello, hello, are you in there
I'm as dark as the night
Let go, let go, find your freedom
Take a taste and chase the high

Colorful comes and color goes
Like throwing a stone through a stained glass window
We all disappear before we know

So look at the stars
We're beautifully blind
People are speaking in lullaby

With a shift of your glance
Your flowers have dried
We are just moments here
We're moments passing by

Jump off, jump off, this is living
You know I'm terrified of heights
The loss is the cost of your giving
You find your way a day at a time

Colorful comes and color goes
Like throwing a stone through a stained glass window
We all disappear before we know

So look at the stars
We're beautifully blind
People are speaking in lullaby
With a shift of your glance
Your flowers have dried
We are just moments here
We're moments here

Spinning 'round and 'round we go
We all fall down, we all should know
We circle for a moment around what is life

So look at the stars
We're beautifully blind
People are speaking in lullaby
With a shift of your glance
Your flowers have dried
We are just moments passing by
Passing by
We are just moments here

So look at the stars baby
Look at the stars all night
All night....

Kevin

PS: I've been asked why I didn't include Farrah Fawcett. Granted, her passing at 62 was too young, but I only included those who died before the age of 59.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

No Surprise: Government's 'HOPE for Homeowners' Program Hasn't Worked

Let's see, we turn over a big problem to the federal government to solve and they mess it up even more. Why should anyone be surprised?

If you want to see how well the Federal Government works at solving economic problems, read this article from CNN: Renewed HOPE for Homeowners

Hope for Homeowners has a 1 in 400,000 success rate.

Government's ‘Hope for Homeowners’ foreclosure rescue plan, rolled out last year, was set to target 400,000 distress families in some stage of foreclosure. The program was geared to keep those families in their homes. When the program was rolled out, many complained that it didn't go far enough, only helping 400,000 families of the millions facing foreclosure. Now we find the bar for ‘too little’ was set way too high for the government to meet. Out of the 400,000 families targeted to be saved by this program only ONE family/home was actually saved. This is a program with massive overhead, a huge staff, and there success rate was 1 out of 400,000.

As if we needed yet ANOTHER example of government's ineptness, this gives you an idea of what results we can expect if the government gets involved in health care, or further involved in the financial markets or banking industry. The Federal Government has bankrupted soc. sec., medicare, etc., and has shown they are incapable of solving hardly any problem. Why would you want to turn MORE over to them? This would be like having a basketball team and your best shooter misses one jump shot, so you turn to the worst shooter on your team and tell him to start taking MORE shots. (More examples of Government's failure to solve problems.)

Letting the worst shooter (Fed. Gov.) take more shots.

If you think the bank industry and the financial markets were inefficient before, give it some time with new regulations and government involvement, and watch the cost to borrow, and the cost to invest, sky rocket. If you think health care costs are high now, just wait 'till they're "free."

Kevin

Monday, May 18, 2009

John Stossel's "You Can't Even Talk About It"

Another very good special by John Stossel, taking on politically sensitive topics. Stossel is one of the few journalists who will take on these taboo subjects.

PART 1: Should Pregnant women get paid as much as others?



PART 2: Should food be radiated?



PART 3: Should tax payers pay for other's who take dumb risks?



PART 4: Is killing and eating tigers the best way to save them?



PART 5: Should steroids be legal?



PART 6: Shouldn't America start doing LESS for the elderly?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lala Music Service - THEE Best Place to Download DRM-Free Music!

In my last blog I called out Michael Robertson for his bogus put down of the Lala music service. Today I want to show you why Lala is hands-down my favorite place to buy DRM-free music.

Lala.com has:
  • NO DRM! Use songs on virtually any computer, phone or other music device.
  • The lowest prices.
  • The best selection.
  • High-quality 256 kbps MP3 files.
  • The fastest way to find, sample, buy and download pretty much any song or CD.
  • Instant sync with iTunes.
  • Sample over 6 million FULL songs (not just 30-second clips).
For example, today I wanted to buy Paul McCartney's first solo record, McCartney. iTunes didn't offer it. Amazon only sold the CD, but didn't offer it in their MP3 store. But, watch how easy it was to find, buy and download it from Lala:



In his blog this week, Robertson is yet again trying to get you to think poorly of Lala in favor of his failing MP3tunes venture. Don't fall for his propaganda. Most people don't even care about a silly "locker" for their music, as they prefer to have their music stored on THEIR hard drive and devices. You can buy a 1 Terabyte drive at Costco for around $100. (In my opinion, anyone who stores their music at MP3tunes and expects that company to be around in the future is kidding themselves. Look at what happened to MP3.com, Linspire, and other Robertson ventures. Where are they today?)

I encourage you to give Lala a try. It doesn't get any easier to find, buy and download high-quality, DRM-free music. I'm happy to finally see a legit site that respects artists and copyright law and that is easier and more convenient to use than piracy.

Thanks Lala!

Kevin

Click image above to see why Lala is the best music service

Friday, April 24, 2009

Michael Robertson Wants To Fool You About the Lala Music Store


I worked with Michael Robertson for seven years and watched first hand his methods. Anyone who follows my blog knows I wasn't impressed with his ethics or tactics. If you want to see a typical example of how Robertson tries to fool people to get his way by misrepresenting the facts (like when he falsely charged former employees for embezzlement to get money from his bank), look at his latest blog where he puts down the successful music service Lala.

The REAL reason Robertson dislikes Lala.

To me, this seems to be Robertson's typical cycle: start a business, fail, then start tossing garbage at the companies who did it right and succeeded, thereby justifying his failure. Linspire lost to Red Hat, Novell and Canonical (Ubuntu). MP3tunes lost to Lala. SipPhone lost to Skype. And so it goes, leaving Robertson with plenty of companies to whine about.

Let's look at his latest drivel about Lala to see his typical MO:

First he starts off like a politician, by trying to scare you with some horrible, over-the-top threat that only he can protect you from: "An insidious new plot to wrestle control of your personal music library is underway." He then goes on to compare it to a "roach motel." Ohhhh, the drama! Whatever shall we do?!? Please Michael, save us from this "insidious new plot!"

Robertson talks about how Lala must be evil because it has taken investment from music companies. I have absolutely no idea if that's true or not (as I don't believe anything that comes from of Robertson), but what I DO know is that when I was CEO of Linspire, Robertson was more than happy to have Linspire take millions of dollars from "the evil" Microsoft and partner with them. So I guess Microsoft was pulling all of Michael's strings at Linspire?

Robertson put millions in his own pocket that came directly from Microsoft ($3M while I was CEO, and I'm sure more after I left). The money that flowed from Microsoft to Robertson more than likely helped fund MP3tunes.
So, using Michael's logic, we can all assume that Microsoft is pulling the strings at MP3tunes, right? Such hypocrisy. The only reason MP3tunes isn't backed by "big music," is because big music is smarter than that. Warner Music tried one time to partner with Robertson and got stabbed in the back the second the ink was dry on the agreement. If one of the big record labels offered to put money into MP3tunes, Robertson would take it in a minute, just like he did at Linspire with the Microsoft deal.

Robertson's claim that he will never "sell out the consumer," is utter rubbish. As CEO at Linspire, I didn't see him raise one objection to Linspire's "deal with the devil" Microsoft, or him concerned in the least about how this would affect the consumer. All I saw him care about was how big was the check and him making sure that $3M was wired to his personal account on the very day we got paid from Microsoft to cover a line of credit Linspire had with Robertson. Many times I watched Robertson intentionally do things that would annoy our users because it would sell more product. As soon as I became CEO, I made CNR free and put out a free version of Linspire (Freespire), all going against what Roberson did as CEO. Robertson helped to justify Microsoft's patent claims when Linspire entered into their deal with Microsoft, so his claims of being the champion against patents, DRM, and protecting consumers' rights rings hollow. I only thing I saw Robertson ever care about was himself, his ego and his net worth. Robertson is the one person I know who can make the big record labels seem like good, honest, honorable people.

Next comes more lies and half truths. He says, "To participate you just need to upload all the tracks from your personal library." Lala should sue Robertson for that line, because it's total rubbish. You don't have to upload a single song from your library to participate at LaLa, but by lying about this, Robertson can make Lala seem so much more "insidious," so why let the truth get in the way?

Robertson's nonsense continues with, "Your music will be controlled by Lala and will eventually vanish, because no company lasts forever." There is no truth to the first part, and the second part would apply even more so to Robertson's companies, given their poor performance.

If you upload your music library to Lala, you are in no way transferring ownership or control of that music. You will still have all your music on your computer's hard drive or on your CDs. Lala can't touch those files and in no way does it "control your music." Lala could go out of business tomorrow and you'd still have your music. (Besides, if anyone's going out of business, my money is on MP3tunes tanking long before Lala.)

Robertson then offers a table where he laughably labels LaLa as the "Record Label Locker," and MP3tunes the "Consumer Locker." Robertson insults the reader with this transparent "BS." Lala is an independent music service, even though Robertson wants to scare you into believing otherwise.

Here's the table I'd offer you about Lala, the one Robertson DOESN'T want you to see:


Read what Ed Bott has to say about Lala on ZDnet.

Most of the popular music stores now all offer non-DRM MP3 files, so Robertson has to start finding other excuses to pick at them. Most consumers just want the lowest cost MP3, and Lala is an excellent service for that, perhaps the best. MP3tunes has little content and can't possibly compete with Lala there, so Robertson wants to scare you about their locker service, which honestly, most consumers don't even care about. (Most people can carry their entire music collection in the palm of their hand and sync it to all their devices without a locker, rendering MP3tunes useless.)

From what I hear, all the best employees have left MP3tunes and there are hardly any employees even left there. Why would anyone want to waste their time uploading their music to a business that will probably go the way of MP3.com, Linspire, AJAX Windows, and so many other ventures started by Robertson?

I've had years of watching Robertson closely. I wouldn't trust anything he says. If you want to have a great selection of music that you can buy in non-DRM MP3s, I'd ignore Robertson and check out Lala. You'll see why it's succeeding.

Kevin

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Michael Robertson Loses in the Court of Public Opinion

I found an interesting website a few months back called On The Jury (www.onthejury.com). The site basically lets Internet users read about a "case" and vote Guilty or Not Guilty. I thought it would be fun to try it out, so I made a post about how Michael Robertson filed police reports against several Linspire employees calling them all embezzlers. I wanted to see how hundreds of Internet users would "rule" on this matter.

I posted the case in November of last year, and as of today, 204 people had voted in the case. The results were pretty interesting (although, not at all surprising to me). Hardly anyone agreed with Roberton's claims.

Click on the below image to enlarge, read Robertson's case against me, and then see the "verdict."

98% of Internet Users found me "Not Guilty."

Only 2% of the public jury agreed with Michael Robertson, who accused employees of "embezzlement" because they received severance payments from the me, the CEO, when they were laid off.

Of course, Robertson lost in a "real" court over this issue as well. Click here to read how Judge Meyer ruled against Robertson, not even letting his bogus allegations get past summary judgment.

If you ever decide to go to work for Michael Robertson, make sure you have a good lawyer, you could very well need one. The fact that he could try to have some of his very best employees arrested for having received severance tells you just how greedy he is.

Kevin

Monday, March 30, 2009

Warning! Michael Robertson Could Sue You For Your Blog!

This week, Michael Robertson took his next step in trying to suppress my blog and stifle my freedom of speech. Today I received his request for documents in his frivolous Freespire trademark lawsuit against me.

Robertson's case has absolutely no merit, yet he's spending thousands of dollars in attorney fees trying to shut down Freespire.com. There is no reasonable upside to Robertson in this lawsuit, other than to try and take Freespire.com down, a site which calls into question Robertson's business practices. The sites encourages would-be customers, partners, investors and employees to talk with others who have had prior dealings with Robertson BEFORE deciding if they want to be involved with him.

To see the frivolity in Robertson's attacks on me in this lawsuit, consider the following...

1. To this day, Linspire, Inc. has never even had a registered trademark for the term Freespire.

2. When I was CEO for Linspire, Inc., I filed for a trademark for the term Freespire in April of 2006. However, after I left Linspire (July 2007), the company discontinued pursuing the application and the application was abandoned on January 14, 2008.

3. In January 2008, Linspire was given the opportunity to acquire the Freespire.com domain name, but they declined.

4. AFTER their trademark had been abandoned and Linspire had declined to acquire the Freespire.com domain name, I THEN acquired the Freespire.com domain name. Since then, I have used the site for various things, but mostly to link to my blog about Michael Robertson's despicable behavior, particularly in two areas:

a. How he tried to have several former employees arrested by the San Diego Police Department. He told the police that funds these employees had been paid for severance had been "embezzled" by them. (Fortunately the police and the courts saw through the nonsense and tossed this out.) These were all very good, long-term employees who had served Linspire faithfully for many years, and this was the thanks they got from Robertson--threats, harassment, intimidation, and lawsuits. (Knowing this, why would anyone ever want to go to work for such a person?)

b. How Robertson refused to explain to the 100-some-odd Linspire shareholders what happened with the millions of dollars in cash that Linspire had. It's now been nearly a year since Robertson sold off the Linspire assets in a back-room deal and the shareholders have yet to be given ANY accounting of what happened. (Knowing this, why would anyone ever invest in Robertson?)

Would you want to work for Michael Robertson
and run the risk of being called an embezzler?

5. Only AFTER Robertson found out I was using Freespire to shed light on his greedy deeds, did Linspire THEN file again for a trademark for Freespire, which still has never been granted a registration.

6. Given the nature of the content I put on the site, obviously there was never any confusion that my site was affiliated with Linspire or the Freespire operating system.

7. Because Freespire never had much traffic, the Freespire.com site has had virtually NO traffic.


8. Robertson sold off Linspire, but he went out of his way to keep the right to sue me for the Freespire trademark (which they never even had).

9. As anyone can see, the site is noncommercial. I don't sell or advertise anything on the site.

10. Not one time did Linspire reach out with any sort of communication to me or the Freespire.com website. No letters, no email, just straight to the lawsuit.

11. To this day, no one at Xandros (the people who now own the Freespire OS and have the PENDING trademark application on file) has ever contacted me or the Freespire.com website, or complained in any way about the site. If having the Freespire.com website up is so damaging, why wouldn't XANDROS be suing me? (Perhaps Xandros understands the concept of Freedom of Speech better than Robertson.)

So, in considering all these things, it's pretty clear that there was no confusion, there were no damages, and there's no upside for Robertson in this, so it obvious to me that this is all about Robertson trying to keep me quiet.

If you want to see just how desperate Robertson is to stop Freespire.com, here's the stuff he's requesting as part of this "trademark" lawsuit. (You can also click here for the entire request in pdf format.) To me it's pretty obvious what he's after (besides his normal bury-them-in-discovery nonsense), and that's to make sure the world doesn't find out what he's really like. For example, be sure and check out #6.



I have no intention of ever keeping quiet. People should know the truth about Robertson. Work for him, and run the risk of being called an embezzler. Invest in him, and get left in the dark. Write a blog about him, and well, you just might get sued.

I rightfully acquired the Freespire.com domain name, and I have a right to express my feelings there. Last time I checked, freedom of speech was still part of America, as much as Robertson would apparently like to change that.

Kevin

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Second Annual American Idol Predictions - Season 8 - 2009




Each year I make my predictions for who I think will win American Idol and in what order I think the contestants will be voted off. (My predictions for last year.)

Here are my predictions for this year. As always, I'm not saying these are my PERSONAL favorites, but just how I think America will end up voting.

My predictions are:

#1...

#2...
#3...
#4...
#5...
#6...
#7...
#8...
#9...
#10...

Let me know your predictions, and come back and see how we did.

Kevin

PS: Here are the contestant's names in text form, so you can easily cut, paste and move them around in the order you predict, if you want to post or email me with your predictions.

Adam Lambert
Allison Iraheta
Anoop Desai
Danny Gokey
Kris Allen
Lil Rounds
Matt Giraud
Megan Joy
Michael Sarver
Scott MacIntyre

Monday, March 16, 2009

John Stossel's "Bailouts and Bull" on 20/20

John Stossel gets it.

John Stossel has once again gotten it right. He's one of the only reporters in the mainstream media who will tell you the truth. If you missed his special last night, here it is. You may also want to watch his previous special, which I blogged about and posted here.

You can watch the six different segments below, or you can also watch this episode in its entirety here at ABC.

Everyone in America should watch this and John's previous reports. Pass it around!

Fed. Government's Failed Bailouts


Fed. Government Scares the Middle Class


Fed. Government's Failure to Control Traffic and at Building Roads


Fed. Government Wants to Controll Pre-School


Fed. Government Spends Billions and Fails to Control Border


Fed. Government's Control Over State Rights


Kevin

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tips from Michael Robertson On Stealing Copyrighted Material

In his most recent Michael's Minute ("A Tivo for YouTube"), Michael Robertson has tips on how you can make sure and get copies of the illegally uploaded content from YouTube before it's taken down by the rightful copyright holder.

Robertson explains how "Sophisticated users have always been able to do this, but now for the first time it's point and click easy with a menu of choices next to the video that you can choose from." Gee, what a guy, helping make theft point and click easy.

Michael Robertson is ready to be your accomplice.

It seems to me that Robertson is making a career (all be it a not very successful one) out of helping you steal copyrighted material and then letting you pay him to store your stolen goods for you.

I don't think Robertson knows how to find a legit way to make money. Heck, he can't even seem to find an illegitimate way.

Kevin

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Obama Makes the Big-Spender Bush Look Thrifty

If Obama gets his way, by his own admission, the deficit will be above $1 TRILLION over the next THREE YEARS, for a total of around $3.7 T. That's nearly what the big spender Bush II took EIGHT years to do ($4.3 T). And all this put into motion in Obama's first couple of months. Eeegads. Spending under Bush was terrible, but apparently it's going to be even worse under Obama and the D-controlled congress.

Big spender Obama. So much for change.

Obama's $3.6 trillion spending and tax plan is the biggest effort to shift the federal government's role in the economy since Reagan's in 1981. But instead of rolling back government, Obama advocates growing it. ....Shudder.... If Congress declines to raise taxes on carbon emissions, or other areas, it will force the deficit even higher. Likewise, should all his tax increases pass, that could slow the economy even more, and the deficit goes higher still.

I might be for raising taxes if I thought for one minute the Gov would use it to pay down the deficit like Bush I and Clinton did, but I don't trust Obama to do that. He's got way to big of a social agenda and seems to lack a basic understanding of economics. (Clinton also did not control federal spending, considering it increased by almost 30% during his tenure. What saved him was the dramatic increase in tax revenues from a healthy economy created in the tech and other sectors during that time.)

Want to see just how much Obama want's to borrow from your children, watch this:

Glenn Beck graphically depicts our Federal Government's out of control spending.

Politicians, R's and D's alike, just can't resist spending your money, and mortgaging your children's future. The national debt is already nearly $11 TRILLION, that's $35,000 for every person living in America, and this all BEFORE Obama starts with his crazy spending!

The stock market clearly isn't liking what they are hearing from Obama. It's down 20% in the short time since Obama's inauguration and down nearly 40% from the time it was evident that Obama was going to become President. Ouch!

The Stock Market Isn't Buying Obama's Tax and Spend Plan

Look at what CNN's Mad Money host Jim Cramer has to say about Obama's policies.

According to a recent poll, over a quarter of those who voted FOR Obama now regret it.

26% of those who voted for Obama wish they hadn't.

Obama's DISapproval rating has increased from 10% to 26% in just over a month as more people, like me, who had hoped that Obama would be different, have learned about his same-old higher taxes and bigger government programs.

Obama's Disapproval rating goes up from 10% to 26% in just over a month.

So, what's to be done? How do we get our economy back on it's feet?

I would encourage everyone to read Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman. (A 10-part TV series was also made along with this book.) If ever there was a time for people to understand how our economy works, it's now, while Obama and the Democratic-controlled congress try to reshape our country into the great society.


Milton Friedman, he was was an American economist, statistician and public intellectual, and a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Even though this book and his ideas are from a few decades ago, they remain true principles that seem to have been lost.

If you're not familiar with Milton Friedman or his beliefs, you can find several good video interviews with him on YouTube. Here is one small sample of him being interviewed by Phil Donahu.



Get this book, read it, and see if it doesn't make a lot of sense, and if it does, is Obama putting us on the right track?

Kevin

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Michael Robertson Continues to Embrace Censorship on the Web

As many of you know, Michael Robertson is suing me for my freespire.com website, which is critical of Robertson for his treatment of employees and shareholders. (Linspire didn't even have a trademark application pending for the term "Freespire" when I started using freespire.com, and the freespire.com domain name was even offered to Linspire before I started using it, so it's pretty obvious to me that his legal bullying is a silly attempt to stifle my freedom of speech.)

Tonight, Michael Robertson broke a new record for censorship on his blog at michaelrobertson.com. Robertson was once again trying to justify making copies of music files and storing them in lockers without authorization (the same thing he did that tanked MP3.com). I made a legitimate post to his forum and my post was censored in less than three minutes! Wow, they're fast with the censorship button over there. =) Instead of rebutting my post, or responding to it, Robertson just has it censored. Nice!

Here is a copy of my post, for those of you who blinked and missed it before it was censored. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) You'll see from the "PS" in my post I was even expecting to be censored, knowing how much Robertson dislikes contrasting points of view.


Click on above image to view my censored post at michaelrobertson.com.

Here is the link that was in my post if you want to check it out: http://www.sideload.com/cb/search/?keywords=the+beatles&pg=1

It appears censorship remains alive and well not just in China, but at MichaelRobertson.com.

Michael is welcome to post to my blog's forum anytime without fear of censorship. In fact, the Linspire shareholders would love to hear from him and what happened with Linspire's cash and assets.

Long live Freedom of Speech!

Kevin