Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Court Hands Michael Robertson Yet Another Loss, Ruling Supports Former Linspire Employees

Several months back, Michael Robertson* and then-Linspire CEO, Larry Kettler, sued Linspire's bank, Comerica. The court has now ruled in the matter. The case was so absurd that not only did Robertson lose the case, but it was kicked out in summary judgment. That means the judge felt Robertson was so clearly in the wrong that it wasn't worth the bother of a trial, and the Judge refused to let Robertson's lawsuit proceed. This is yet another victory for truth and justice and stands as further evidence that Robertson's attacks on former employees were unfounded. (Here is a copy of the ruling. This was the tentative ruling which the judge confirmed as the final ruling during the hearing.)

Does Anyone Believe Michael Robertson Anymore?

So, why did Robertson sue his own bank?

To answer that, let me fill in some more of the story surrounding my departure as CEO for Linspire...

When I was CEO, I decided to make some shifts in the company's product line strategy which required letting some employees go. These were wonderful, hard-working, committed, trusted, long-term employees, most having worked for Linspire for around five years. These had been some of the most key individuals for Linspire over the years, including our lead OS engineer, the Director of the OS, and other employees and executives.

It was unfortunate that we needed to let these good people go, and I felt the least we could do was give them fair and reasonable severance to ease the blow. After all, it was these very same employees who had just helped Linspire turn in an extremely profitable year. Their good work had allowed us to pay off all of our debt and still have millions of dollars in the bank (which some shareholders believe Robertson took and/or squandered). At a minimum, I felt it only fair to use a very small portion of that year's profits to pay them a respectful severance. I wanted to treat these employees with respect and fairness. I knew by treating these long-time employees fairly, they would be happy to continue to help us if called upon (as departing employees so often are).

That's how I felt anyway. Michael Robertson, however, being the greedy man that he is, originally wanted to see these good people terminated with only two weeks severance. After a week of arm twisting, he suggested slightly more, but still less than I felt what was appropriate.

Fortunately for these employees however, Robertson had no operational or executive role at Linspire (he played absolutely no role in the huge profits we brought in that year), and it was up to me as the CEO to set the severance amounts for any laid-off employees. So, contrary to Michael's suggestion, I laid the employees off with the reasonable severance amounts I felt were appropriate, totaling only a few percentage points of the huge revenue and profits these employees had brought in that year. Prior to every action I took, I consulted with outside counsel to ensure that everything I did was proper and within the scope of my authority.

In less than 24 hours from when I had laid off the employees, I received this email from Robertson:

Do not do your proposed reduction in force. Please focus all of you energies on getting the new products to market at this time.

-- mr
Translated, I took that to mean: "Hey, before we stick the knife in these employees' backs and fire them with a few measly weeks of severance, let's abuse them one last time. Don't tell them anything about the pending layoffs just yet, but rather, keep them slaving away for a few more days until we get CNR.com and the new version of Linspire out and THEN you can fire them."

When I read this I became so infuriated at the level of greed Robertson had, that I decided to resigned, and sent Robertson this email:
Michael (Chairman of the Board),

I hereby offer my resignation, effective immediately.

After six years of quality service as President, and two years of having also been CEO, it is apparent that you are no longer willing to let me function in ways I see best for the company. Since closing on [recent lucrative deals], you have tried to challenge me and my authority as CEO and attempted to override my judgment with decisions which I do not believe to be in the best interest of the company and its shareholders.

To facilitate a smooth transition, please contact me as soon as possible so we can discuss and coordinate how to best message my resignation to employees, customers, the press, [partners], etc.


Kevin Carmony
President & CEO, Linspire, Inc.
I further told Michael that I didn't want one dime in severance for myself. I just wanted to be done with Robertson's greed, rants and unethical tactics and move on.

Michael replied and immediately accepted my resignation. However, he never did meet with me. Instead of coordinating with me a successful course of transition for Linspire with customers, employees, and partners, Robertson set about a maniacal plan to do all he could to take away the severance payments given to these good employees. He tried to reverse the severance payments, but of course the employee's banks refused. He then did the unthinkable. He filed a false report with the San Diego police department claiming that the money I, as CEO, had given these good employees as severance had been embezzled by them! Who does something that insane?!? Because he wasn't happy with my decision as CEO about their severance payments, he calls them all embezzlers???

Fortunately, seeing the nonsense in his claims, the police department didn't even open a file up on the case and dismissed it out of hand. However, that didn't stop Robertson from continuing to call these good employees embezzlers, even to this day. For example, Robertson, still calling these employees embezzlers, had false reports filed with the IRS to try and keep the portions of the severance payments which had been withheld for taxes. (The IRS met with all the employees and had them each file a 3949-A fraud report against Linspire, which they each did). Linspire also called these employees embezzlers to try and deny some of their unemployment claims. (They lost on all those attempts as well.)

Michael Robertson ran these employee's names through the mud and did everything he could to get his greedy hands on the employees severance, but alas, to no avail. Two of the employees even offered to give back their well-deserved severance, and Robertson told them it wouldn't be necessary, and yet he continues to this day to call them part of a "criminal conspiracy" to embezzle money from Linspire.

Michael Robertson Sues His Bank

After losing his bogus claims with the San Diego police department, the IRS, and the unemployment office, Robertson decided to sue his bank, Comerica, trying to get the bank to reimburse him for the severance payments, claiming that I was not authorized to wire these to the employees.

So, yet again, Robertson dragged out his ridiculous claims that these severance payments were embezzlement. Even though I was the CEO, and the payments were authorized by me, Robertson claimed that no one but he had real authority to make these severance payments. Not the CEO, CFO, Controller, etc., no one but him. The rest of us were all just embezzlers.

Judge Dismisses Robertson's Case in Summary Judgement

Comerica, also realizing how ridiculous Robertson's claims were, and knowing they were certainly in no way responsible for sending payments instructed by the CEO, filed a motion for summary judgment to have the case dismissed. In other words, they asked the Judge to rule that the case was so groundless, that he kick it out of court and not waste any more of the courts time.

Judge Meyer Rules Robertson's Statements as "Irrelevant."

I attended the hearing which lasted only about a half hour, at which the Judge granted Comerica's motion and disposed of the case in Comerica's favor.

Here are a couple of excerpts from Judge Meyer's ruling:
"Carmony was plaintiff's President and CEO at the time the payment orders were made. Long was plaintiff's Controller. Undoubtedly, both were agents of Plaintiff Linspire, Inc., and were acting within the scope of their agency."

"[The] implied powers of a general agent or manager are very broad, embracing authority to do all acts customarily connected with the business in which he is engaged....An agent has authority: 1. To do everything necessary or proper and usual, in the ordinary course of business, for effecting the purpose of his agency..."

"[Carmony and Long] had actual and apparent authority to cause the payment orders to be issued in plaintiff's name."
At one point during the trial, the Judge seemed frustrated with Robertson's lawyer, and asked him:
"Carmony's the CEO, and Long is the controller! How can there not be authority?"

"Well, I'm not sure I understand. Carmony's the CEO and Long's the controller, and they were at the time of these transactions. How can there be any factual dispute as to whether or not they were authorized agents of Linspire?"
The judge's ruling correctly confirms that I, as CEO, had the authority to wire these employees their severance payments. Sadly, even with a judge saying all this in an open-court ruling, I'm sure Robertson will continue with his false embezzlement allegations against these good employees, showing just what kind of unethical person he is.

Judge Further Rules Robertson's Statements as "Irrelevant"

As part of their "evidence" against Comerica, Linspire included a declaration from Robertson. Filled with nonsense and misstatements, Robertson basically rants that he was the one with the authority, not the CEO. He claims this because I and the laid off employees were all just a bunch of embezzlers. Never one to let the truth get in the way of a good story or lawsuit, he attempted to re-cast layoffs, private executive meetings, and severance payments as some kind of sinister plot carried out by a group of conspiring embezzlers, continually using such words as "secret meetings" and "unauthorized wire transfers" to describe regular business affairs.

Here is what the Judge had to say about Robertson's declaration:
"Because virtually all of the substantive statements made in Mr. Robertson's declaration are irrelevant, the Court declines to issue individual rulings on each discrete objection."
In other words, I was the CEO, wiring the severance payments was authorized, and Robertson just needs to get over it and deal with those facts.

I had told Robertson on numerous occasions and in emails that if he disagreed with how I was running the company, that there were steps shareholders can take to remove a CEO. Those steps were never taken, so I had full authority to give these employees severance, even though Robertson wanted to give them paltry severance for their years of hard work.

Our CFO had an employment agreement guaranteeing him two-years of severance should he ever be terminated. I amended that agreement some time ago, all by myself, without any board approval, and removed the 2-year severance commitment. Interestingly, Robertson claims that I didn't have authority to grant severance payments. If this were true, then I certainly wouldn't have had authority to amended our CFO's employment agreement. Perhaps the CFO should sue Linspire to receive those two years of severance?

Greedy Robertson

Even if Robertson was legally in the right here (which the court has ruled he wasn't), it would still show how greedy he is and how he treats employees. Regardless of court rulings, the fact remains that Robertson wanted to treat these employees poorly, and when I refused to do that, he calls them thieves and embezzlers to get back at me and them. Does it get any lower than that?

Robertson "said" he wanted to only give them the smaller severance so that he could keep as much money in the company as possible for it to succeed. Hmmmm...how did that work out for everyone? In just a few months after I left, Linspire was gone and the shareholders have yet to be told anything. Robertson said he didn't want the employees to get more money, and so who ultimately would have gotten the money if I hadn't paid these employees severance? Robertson! It was very transparent to me then, and remains so today, that Robertson wanted as much money for himself as possible. I believe his greed is pretty evident and should give anyone pause before ever working for him. (If you should ever find yourself considering going to work for Robertson, email me for a list of dozens of former employees you can speak with first about Robertson.)

It was pretty ridiculous for Robertson to think that the bank would pay him money just because he disagreed with the severance amounts I, as CEO of the corporation paid. It gives you an idea as to the alternate reality Robertson lives in.

Rather than running around suing people, perhaps he should just focus on actually building something. I've never sued anyone in my entire life. Have you?


*Note: As far as anyone knows (since Robertson isn't talking to shareholders we can't be certain), Michael Robertson is the only employee at Linspire, now called Digital Cornerstone, Inc. So, when Linspire/Digital Cornerstone sues someone, it's Robertson doing the suing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Emily Richards Photo-Montage Video

"Time's not a friend to the days we hold on to."
~ Emily Richards

Kevin and Emily at lunch recently.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I use to live in Los Angeles where I had an artist management company. Yesterday, Emily Richards, one of the artists I managed (and Indie Superstar =), called to see what high res photos I had that she could use for an upcoming project. I have hundreds of photos of her on tour, performing, etc., so I started going through these looking for something that might work for what she needed.

While sifting through these photos, it really took me for a trip down memory lane. Wow, we really had so many good times (and bad =), and made so many good friends. Flooded with all these memories, I was inspired to put together this short photo-montage video of some of the pictures that had special meaning to me. I put the photos to the music of a very rare Emily Richards song. It was recorded as a quick demo in one take at my home in LA and we used it as a special "hidden track" on Emily's "out-take" CD called "Sounds in the Basement." In fact, the title for the CD came from the lyrics of this song. The CD is no longer available commercially, so even the most die-hard Emily Richards fans have likely never heard this song, even though it has always been a favorite of mine. Emily wrote the song years ago, long before I had even met her. I think you'll see, however, that it's amazing how a song written in one part of her life, fit so nicely with a completely different period of her life. (Emily really should re-record this song properly one day. I'm sure she'll cringe hearing the rough vocals, but it's still a beautiful song.)

HIGH Resolution LOW Resolution

Putting this video together had extra special meaning to me, since Emily and I were unable to communicate for the past year due to circumstances, and have recently been able to reconnect, and we can start working together again. (By the way, if you're in the Los Angeles area, be sure and come by Life on Wishire this coming Monday night at 9:30 PM to see Emily perform a few songs. I'll be there as well with many of our friends, celebrating John Jones birthday.)

For those of you not familiar with Emily's music, you can find her on iTunes, etc. I'd recommend her Valhalla CD to start you out, but they're all fantastic.

I hope you enjoy watching and listening to this video as much as I did putting it together.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Michael Robertson Loses Motion in Shareholder Dispute over Linspire's Missing Assets

I have some good news to report to the 100 some-odd shareholders who remain in the dark about Linspire's missing cash and assets...

Robertson Loses Motion in Shareholder Lawsuit.

As I had reported back in September, Michael Robertson and Larry Kettler were sued in a derivative lawsuit, alleging misconduct by Robertson and Kettler which harmed the Linspire corporation and its shareholders. (Linspire had millions of dollars in the bank just months prior to its demise, but Robertson remains silent as to what happened to the corporation and Linspire's cash and assets, leaving minority shareholders in the dark.)

You would think with all the attention Robertson has been getting by ignoring the Linspire investors and shareholders, that he would be doing all he can to come clean to them as to what happened. Instead, Robertson's tossed out a legal maneuver which I believe was simply a ploy to try and intimidate the plaintiff who had sued Robertson on behalf of the company and shareholders. Robertson filed a motion to force the plaintiff to come up with a $50,000 bond before they could continue with their case against Robertson and Kettler.

Robertson and Kettler Lose Motion

This week the court denied Robertson and Kettler's motion requiring the bond, which means the case can continue to discovery and eventually to trial.

Even though Linspire minority shareholders still remain in the dark as to what happened, this is at least a small victory for them to see that Robertson will eventually have to explain himself in court.

It says a lot about Robertson when it has taken this type of lawsuit to get him to explain to shareholders what happened and that he continues to fight the process rather than just being forthright with the shareholders.

The question remains: What is he hiding?


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Two Nights, Two Great Concerts - Coldplay & Australian Pink Floyd Show

I saw two great concerts the last two nights.

On Monday I saw the Australian Pink Floyd Show here in San Diego at the Copley Symphony Hall. I was blown away! They played pretty much the entire Wall double album (one of my all time favorite records) from start to finish and then bits of Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Where Here, etc. for their encore. I didn't know anything about these guys until a few days before the show. Pink Floyd is one of the few bands that I have always wished I had been able to see, but haven't yet, so I figured a tribute band was the next best thing. It was unbelievable! The venue was great and the sound fantastic. I went with ex Linspire patriot Kevin LaRue (and fellow progressive rock fan) and we had a great time on the 5th row. They tour all the time, so if they are coming to your town, GO!

Then last night I saw Coldplay in Orange Country at the Honda Center (the "pond"). This is my third time seeing Coldplay. Last time I saw them in 2005 we were on the front row, and this time on the second. As always, the band was fantastic. I wasn't thrilled with the sound of the Honda Center, however, as it had this very annoying echo, and you'd heard every sound slapping back at you a split second later. It made it nearly impossible to even understand what Chris Martin was saying when he'd talk into the mic. Also, I tend to have the worst luck with sitting by annoying fans. Last night it was the two women sitting right behind us who wouldn't be quiet all evening and spilled their drink on me! Literally, dumped the entire cup down my back. Fans need to learn to not get so drunk that they ruin the show for everyone around them.

Two great nights. Below are photos and video I shot from the shows.

This is a short excerpt of video I shot of some of the night with Coldplay. The best, up-close footage is in the last half of the video.

Some photos I took from the Coldplay show (click to enlarge)...

Some photos I took from the Australian Pink Floyd Show (click to enlarge)...

I didn't shoot the below video, but it gives you an idea how fantastic these guys are. Comfortably Numb was a real mind blower!

Here is some great audio of their show just a few weeks before ours.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ubuntu's Impressive Numbers

I remain impressed with Canonical and Ubuntu. My Ubuntu computer works brilliantly. With each release I see the delta between my main OS (Mac OS X) and desktop Linux, becoming smaller and smaller. Mac still has a bit more polish and service offerings, but the main difference for me remains the quality of software available for Mac vs Linux, but even there the line is starting to blur considerably.

Ubuntu 8.10--Impressive OS is only four years old.

Considering that Canonical is barly four years old, here are some impressive numbers to consider (source):
  • Ubuntu has 8 million+ users.
  • Ubuntu has over 500 active developers.
  • 120+ of those developers are full-time Canonical engineers.
  • Canonical has over 215 employees.
  • Ubuntu has over 600,000 forum users.
The latest 8.10 release of Ubuntu is now available for download. If you haven't already, you should check it out. It's definately better than Vista, and getting very close to OS X.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Michael Robertson--Still Hiding Details About Linspire's Demise

Five Months And Counting--What Happened to Linspire?

It's been five months since Michael Robertson sold off Linspire in a secret back-room deal with Xandros, and yet, the 100 some-odd minority shareholders haven't received any details about this transaction. Robertson has time to file frivolous lawsuits against me to try and take away my freedom of speech, but he doesn't have time to talk to all those shareholders who have lost thousands and thousands of dollars on worthless Linspire stock.

Is there anyone who can be left with doubt as to Robertson's attitude toward employees, investors and shareholders?

Michael Robertson--No Respect for Investors and Shareholders

The lawsuit against Robertson over the missing cash continues, but for Linspire shareholders, we remain completely in the dark.

What is Robertson hiding? Incompetence? Greed? Theft? All three? After five months, if he had a reasonable story to tell shareholders, wouldn't he have done that by now?

By my calculation, Linspire blew through around $35 Million and left absolutely nothing to show for it. Perhaps Robertson is just embarrassed by his colossal failure with Linspire. I netted a profit during my two years as Linspire's CEO, and there were millions in the bank when I left, yet in one quick year it's all gone.

Linspire, SIPphone, MP3tunes, AJAXwindows, not exactly an impressive track record. I can see why Michael prefers to keep in hiding.


Friday, November 14, 2008

My High Scores on Fieldrunners Game for the iPhone


My new high score is now 686,525 (Level: High, Rounds: 100). Screenshots below.

Original Post:

OK, I admit it, this is the one iPhone game I've become rather addicted to.

Here is the end game of my highest score to date (85 Rounds, 432,250 points, Medium Level). I took this snap shot just seconds before losing my last life, thanks to a flood of those blasted helicopters!

You'll notice I leave an alleyway along the top. This way, when the enemy is about to the end of my route, but they are still kickin', I can "unlock" my field by releasing the sole man in the upper left-hand corner, then locking the end of the route, forcing the enemy to head back in the opposite direction and taking an additional beating. (I guess there is even a term for this, "juggling.") It's just those dang helicopters that can fly overhead that I need to beef up more for!

Here are my high scores (all on the Medium Level, other than score #8 was on Easy):

Any other Fieldrunners addicts? Share your score.

Some great scores (and pointers) to be found here.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Good News About Obama's Win

As those of you who follow my blog know, I was a Mitt Romney supporter for President. I felt our country needed someone like Romney, who really understands how the economy works and has shown time and time again he can turn things around. Unfortunately, Romney lost in the primaries to John McCain, who I then reluctantly supported because I didn't like Obama's lack of experience, position on taxes, and Liberal record. Today, however, America has spoken and Barack Obama will be our next President.

Congratulations to Barack Obama -- I'm Proud of America

Even thought Obama's associations, lack of experience, view on taxes, and Liberal voting record concern me, there is one thing about his victory that I'm very happy about, and that is I'm proud to be an American today, which just elected an African American as its president. I'm excited to have our first minority as President. I believe it shows that America isn't a racist nation. Of course there are those few who still discriminate and hold racist attitudes and views, but I believe the majority of Americans do not hold race against others.

I do worry about Obama, Pelosi and Reed controlling the federal government, and I'll do what I can to keep our country from swinging to big government and expanded social programs (and will be ready to support Romney in 2012 if Obama drops the ball!). However, for today, I'm just going to be proud to be an American where we have a free election system and where anyone truly can become President.

Congratulations to Barack Obama and his historical victory. Regardless of who you voted for, today every American should be proud of their country. I am.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Michael Robertson Sues Me to Impede My Freedom of Speech on the Internet

UPDATE:  I easily won this lawsuit.  Read results here.

As many of you know, I have used my blog as a resource to bring to light the questionable actions of Michael Robertson, and to go public with his treatment of employees and shareholders. Today I was served with a lawsuit by Michael Robertson in an effort to obscure my blog and impede my freedom of speech. I have to say that I wasn't surprised to learn that Michael would use a frivolous lawsuit to threaten and silence me, but it won't work. I will not let Robertson bully or intimidate me with this or any other nuisance suit. Such lawsuits only serve to shed further light on his unscrupulous tactics.

Michael Robertson--No Champion of the 1st Amendment

Robertson, unhappy about my blog, sues me

The Internet has become a bastion of free speech for bloggers. Robertson, who claims to be a strong supporter for such rights, seems to feel quite differently when that speech is critical of him.

You see, just as the Internet is a marvelous vehicle for companies to promote their goods and services, it can be an equally effective tool for dissatisfied customers or disgruntled employees and shareholders to criticize a particular product, company or management team. Much to the chagrin of trademark owners, such "gripe sites" (which often include the company name or trademark in the URL), are very difficult, if not impossible, to shut down. Fortunately, the First Amendment typically shields the operators of corporate gripe sites from liability. If the gripe site is non-commercial in nature, the operator's freedom of speech will generally override the trademark owner's interest in controlling the use of its company name or trademark, as it should.

Freedom of Speech on Freespire.com

Earlier this year, Linspire was given the opportunity to purchase the domain name Freespire.com. They declined. When I was CEO, I spearheaded the Freespire project, but I was unable to obtain the freespire DOT COM domain name, so we did everything at freespire DOT ORG. We tried incessantly to obtain the .com domain, but the owner would never sell it to us. So you can imagine my surprise when earlier this year, the owner finally agreed to sell the domain and it was offered to Linspire, but they declined to acquire it. (I think that also sums up the commitment Linspire had to Freespire.) So, around eight months ago, only AFTER Linspire declined to purchase the freespire.com domain name, I decided to acquire it as a non-commercial opinion site to share my views about Linspire, Freespire and desktop Linux in general.

It had been over six months since I had left Linspire, and I had become increasingly disappointed with its management and decided to use Freespire.com to vent that dissatisfaction. I had certainly been observing the downfall of the company, and by this time I had learned about Robertson having filed false claims against several executives, calling severance payments "embezzlement," and I wanted a venue to express my displeasure. For me, the writing was on the wall that Robertson was destroying the company. (Just a few months later the company was gone and the shareholders remain in the dark.)

At the freespire.com site, I praised the good work other distributions were doing with Linux (Ubuntu, Mint, Nimblex, etc.), expressed dissatisfaction with Linspire/Freespire, and linked to my blog. At no time have I ever sold any of these distributions or had a financial stake in them. I was merely exercising my freedom of speech.

So, today, Michael Robertson (via the now-defunct Linspire shell company "Digital Cornerstone") sued me for "cybersquatting, trademark infringement, and unfair competition," claiming that the freespire.com "gripe" site should be taken down and seeking $100,000 and other damages.

First, I'm a little confused how Robertson is suing me for trademark infringement, considering there is no registered trademark for "Freespire." (Linspire filed for one but never actually got it registered and all the Linspire IP went to Xandros months ago.)

My freespire.com site never sold anything. It never used the Freespire logo or even used the Freespire name in large fonts or type. There was certainly no confusion, as it was quite clear this site wasn't Linspire's site. In fact, there was even a disclaimer stating the fact that the site was not owned by or affiliated with Linspire or the Freespire distro in anyway.

Companies hate "gripe sites," but consumers appreciate
them and the First Amendment Protects Them

As I pointed out earlier, it's rare that a non-commercial blog or opinion site is found to be cybersquating or violating trademarks, as they are protected by the First Amendment. And it's extremely rare for monetary damages to be awarded in a cybersquating case, particularly one as non-consequential as this one. (The freespire.com domain only got around 100 hits per day, and even fewer today. See the Alexa graph at the end of this blog.) Yet Robertson is seeking $100,000 in damages? Linspire never complained or objected about the site, even though there was a clear contact link for the site's webmaster on every page. No cease and desist letter was ever mailed. They never sought relief or arbitration from ICANN. No, instead, in classic Robertson fashion, he headed straight to the court room because this lawsuit is about intimidation and suppressing speech, not about legitimate damages.

The lawsuit even states, "Although the FREESPIRE mark was recently assigned as part of an asset purchase, [Robertson] expressly reserved all rights in and to all claims against Carmony arising from the freespire.com domain name and website." Now, why would Robertson want to carve out that one thing to hang on to? He's no longer involved with Freespire, so why does he care? Is he desperate for money? With Robertson's companies struggling and laying employees off, does anyone really believe this is the most important thing Robertson should be concerning himself with? His motives are pretty transparent--to suppress freedom of expression that is critical of Robertson.

Keep Speech Free at Freespire.com

This is a nuisance lawsuit, intended to silence my freedom of speech. I will defend my right to free speech by continuing to point freespire.com to my blog and keep reporting on Robertson's disturbing actions.

I'll keep you posted on this YARL (Yet Another Robertson Lawsuit).


UPDATE: Michael Robertson made a pretty ironical post today on his Michael's Minute. So I made an appropriate response, and it was quickly censored and removed. Below is a screenshot of what it looked like BEFORE my post was censored (click on it to enlarge to read). Michael Robertson is welcome to post here at anytime and I will assure him his non-anonymous comment will be published. As I say, Robertson can dish it, but can't take it. Just more evidence of his desire to squash free speech.

Censorship at MichaelRobertson.com

Penn & Teller on the First Amendment (Explicit Language)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

World's Smallest Political Quiz

Click here to take the World's Smallest Political Quiz and see where you stand.

Here are my results, which might help people understand me and some of my views.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Barack Obama Hides Welfare and Socialism in his "Tax Cut"

Obama "spreading the wealth around."

I have a very good friend who is planning on voting for Barack Obama. Even SHE refused to believe me when I told her that people who pay no income tax (about 40% of Americans) will actually get a check in the mail under Obama's "spread the wealth around" tax plan. I admit it's hard to believe, but quite true.

Read this Wall Street Journal article.

What Obama calls a "tax cut" is really a tax increase, and that tax increase is really a welfare payment to millions.

It's one thing to "tax the rich" to build highways and support our national defense, but when you take money from one group and give it to another, that's WELFARE, and when your government FORCES you to do it, that's SOCIALISM.

I never hear Obama talking about expanding the pie, only about how to slice it. I'm all for helping those in need, but the best way to do that is to grow the economy with LOWER taxes so everyone can have a good job. As pointed out in my last blog, the private sector can do much more to help people than government.

I have been unemployed for the past year as I've been starting a new business, so I have no income. Senator Obama, if elected to President, PLEASE do NOT mail me my welfare check. I prefer to earn a living through work and productivity.


Monday, October 20, 2008

John Stossel's "Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics"

John Stossel, one of the few level headed individuals in the media and a fellow Libertarian, has made yet another excellent 20/20 Special. John looks at the fallacies of big government.

I would HIGHLY encourage everyone to watch this entire program BEFORE voting. I'm glad at least someone from the mainstream media is debunking the concept that we should turn to government to solve all our problems.

For your viewing convenience, I've put the entire program below. (Note: If you'd prefer to watch this in a higher resolution directly from the ABC News website, go here.)

PART 1 - False promises from politicians. Spontaneous Order. Central planning and government vs self organization and business.

PART 2 - Housing crises. Regulation vs deregulation. Bailout. Necessity of business failures.

PART 3 - Rebuilding New Orleans. Government vs volunteers and the private sector. Government bureaucracy.

PART 4 - Campaign finance reform. Law of unintended consequences. Using regulation to prevent competition.

PART 5 - Farm subsidies. Job obsolescence. New Zealand eliminates farm subsidies.

PART 6 - People run America, not Government. People bring change, not politicians. Personal responsibility.

BONUS SECTION FROM PREVIOUS WEEK - Should some people not vote?


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Michael Robertson Continues His Shell Game with Linspire's Missing Cash

As I mentioned last month, Michael Robertson and Larry Kettler were sued for mismanagement of the now defunct Linspire. Although I am not a party in that lawsuit, it was my hope that it would help shed some light on what happened with the millions of dollars in missing cash and other Linspire assets.

Robertson and Kettler finally responded to the suit, and I got a copy of their response. From what I could see, what they produced did not provide any meaningful data on the missing cash. It appears that Robertson simply dumped on the plaintiff over 200 pages of misc. bank statements (not even covering the full periods from Aug. 1, 2007 to present). They failed to produce any meaningful financial statements, Income Statements, Balance Sheets, closing documents on the Xandros deal, etc. From the mishmash of evidence that was provided, it IS CLEAR there were in fact millions of dollars in cash when Robertson took over as sole Board member just over a year ago, BUT it is still very UNCLEAR where that cash ended up.

Michael Robertson - What is he hiding?

The lack of meaningful financial documents in Robertson's response didn't surprise me in the least. After having worked with Robertson for over six years, I witnessed first hand all of his legal maneuvers and tricks. One of his favorites was to overload opposing counsel with meaningless discovery documents, forcing them to sift through piles of papers to find the needle in the haystack, rather than just producing the documents which clearly show he is in the right. (This is a tactic people often use when they're NOT in the right.)

If Robertson and Kettler had nothing to hide, why wouldn't they provide HELPFUL documents that show EXACTLY what happened with the cash? If there is a good explanation, why wouldn't they simply provide that evidence? What is Robertson hiding?

According to one of the documents, the new Linspire Board was made up of Michael Robertson, his wife Leslie, and Larry Kettler (Robertson's consummate "Yes Man"). Not exactly what you'd call an "independent" board. Also, I'm not sure how Leslie and Larry could be on the board, considering the shareholders were never notified of these changes. The shareholders WERE properly notified when Michael fired all the other board members over a year ago, but have not been notified of any changes since. Again, why hide this?

So, my questions for Michael Robertson are:

1. If the only financial documents you plan on providing in the derivative lawsuit are bank statements, why not provide ALL the bank statements for the periods of August 1, 2007 through the present? (I would suggest to the plaintiff's lawyers that they subpoena the bank statements for the missing periods and START looking there. If Robertson is going to force you to look for the needle in the haystack, at least make sure all the haystack is there.)

2. Why haven't you held a shareholders meeting since taking over exclusive control of the Linspire Board over a year ago?

3. Why after months of you having sold Linspire to Xandros haven't you shared any details of that transaction with the 100-some-odd shareholders?

4. Why haven't you produced any meaningful financial statements, such as Income Statements or Balance Sheets to shareholders or to the plaintiff and lawyers in the derivative lawsuit?

5. Why are you trying to dissolve the corporation so quickly without explaining anything to the shareholders?

6. What happened to all the cash? Did you funnel it to yourself and/or your father-in-law? Did you squander it all in one short year through incompetent management of Linspire?

7. And lastly... When we had to let some very good, committed, long-term employees go at Linspire, you said you wanted to only give them two weeks of severance. I disagreed, and as CEO, I made the decision to give them more reasonable severance packages. You were so greedy and upset with the CEO's decision, that you filed a bogus police report and called them all embezzlers! Your argument for giving these good employees such piddly severance payments was that you wanted to keep as much money in the company as possible, claiming this would be better in the long run for those employees, the shareholders and the Linspire customers. So, my final question for you Michael: How'd your brilliant plan work out for everyone?


Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Get a Dog" - My Dog Toby and a Sprinkle Cupcake

My dog's absolute favorite treat in the entire world is a Sprinkles Cupcake. Don't worry, they're made special for dogs. (Oh, and I don't mind them myself, the ones for people that is. =)

Thanks to John Jones for letting me use this song. He's never released it, but he should.

Click below video to play.

Below is a photo of the line I had to wait in for 30 minutes to get my Sprinkles!

But Toby seems to think it was well worth the wait. =)


Song "Get a Dog" (C) by John Jones.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Michael Robertson Sued Over Linspire's Missing Cash

To this day, Michael Robertson has yet to explain to the 100 some-odd shareholders what happened with the millions of dollars in cash and assets that were owned by Linspire just a few short months ago. The assets seem to have completely vanished, leaving shareholders with no return on their investment or even so much as an explanation as to what happened.

In June, Robertson sold Linspire to Xandros in a back-room deal without any shareholder input or detailed notification. Even though Robertson sold Linspire three months ago, shareholders still remain completely in the dark as to the financial details of the transaction. How does that pass any smell test for investors?

Michael Robertson - Greedy, crook or just incompetent?

At the time the deal was announced, I predicted it would take a lawsuit to ever get Robertson to go public with the details, as it was my belief Robertson's motive for this transaction was likely to hide unauthorized transactions which he may have made using Linspire's assets as his personal piggy bank to reward himself and his father-in-law as well as fund his other companies. It appears I was right in my prediction as a lawsuit has now been filed against Michael Robertson and Linspire's then-CEO Larry Kettler in an effort to force Robertson and Kettler to finally explain to shareholders what happened.

Click here for a copy of the suit with all the details of the allegations.

The lawsuit is a "derivative suit" which is a lawsuit instigated by a shareholder of a corporation, not on the shareholder's own behalf, but on behalf of the corporation. The shareholder brings an action in the name of the corporation against the parties (in this case Robertson and Kettler) who allegedly caused harm to the corporation. Such derivative suits are often brought against officers or directors of a corporation for violations of fiduciary duties owed to the shareholders vis-a-vis the corporation. The derivative suit against Robertson and Kettler was instigated by Kevin LaRue, the one-time VP of Marketing for Linspire and a current shareholder, but any proceeds of a successful action are awarded to the corporation, benefiting all shareholders, not just LaRue.

Because Michael Robertson was the Chairman of Linspire's board and apparently their only board member (shareholders have never been given notice of anyone else having been added to the board since Robertson fired all the other board members over a year ago), it would be improper for him to make deals that would only benefit him as the majority shareholder. The lawsuit alleges Robertson did not fulfill his fiduciary responsibility to not only act in his best interest but in the interest of all shareholders.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome of this suit, if nothing else, it will hopefully, once and for all, bring to light what happened to Linspire. The minority shareholders have a right to know, and it's unfortunate it has taken this lawsuit to get any information form Robertson.

If my suspicions as to Robertson's actions and motives were unfounded, why wouldn't Robertson have come forward with all the books and details long before now? What is he hiding? Why is it taking a lawsuit to bring things to light? Robertson's behavior simply enforces my belief that he was in fact taking advantage of Linspire shareholders and is doing everything he can to cover up his actions.

A year ago, Michael and I disagreed over what was best for the future of Linspire and the shareholders. I resigned and Michael got his way, insisting he knew what was best for the future of the company and that he could return more value to employees and shareholders than the plans I had proposed. So far Robertson has produced nothing of value for the shareholders and the company appears now to be gone. Is Robertson a greedy majority shareholder who navigated things to make sure he got all the assets, a crook who stole the assets, or is he just incompetent, having squandered millions in one short year?

Hopefully this suit will once and for all uncover the truth and the shareholders will finally know what happened with their investment in Linspire and Robertson.


PS: "Xandros has done more than any company to put Linux in front of users..." ~ Michael Robertson (More than Ubuntu? Novell? Red Hat? Linspire even??? Robertson said this recently. With statements like this, you can see why I have a hard time believing anything else he says.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photos of Lake Powell, Jayson Haws, John Jones & Friends

Just got back from a week at Lake Powell so thought I'd share the link to a few photos (and one video) I took while there.

Thought I'd also share the photos of the pool party, BBQ and concert (with Jayson Haws and John Jones) I held at my home on August 30th. Thanks to Cliff Beshers for the great shots he got of Jayson and John.

It was an incredible weekend with Spring Awakening on Friday night, the party and concert on Saturday and then a private box at the Del Mar races on Sunday. Thanks for a great weekend everyone!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Off to Lake Powell -- See You In A Week

If you need me, I'll be right here...

Click to enlarge

Thursday, September 11, 2008

See How Good You Are At Spotting Compatibility

Today, Dating DNA launched a new featured called "Match Game." You can learn more about it on the Dating DNA blog here.

To play the game and see how good you are at spotting compatibility between me and other Dating DNA users, simply visit http://datingdna.com/game/123-456-789.

Let me know how you scored.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Xandros Remains Out of Touch

Xandros pretends to be moving Freespire to Debian, when in reality, all they are doing is using the Freespire brand as the free version of Xandros. Because Xandros is based on Debian, not Ubuntu, this was the easiest way to do this without using any engineers.

The real news here is that Xandros will finally have a free version of their OS, albeit several days late and several dollars short. If Linspire was too late with our move to a free version with Freespire three years ago, it's WAY too late for the struggling Xandros just doing this now.

Xandros remains irrelevant, out of touch, and I predict will continue to struggle. Ubuntu, Red Hat and Novel will continue to dominate the space.


PS: An Anonymous Coward asked me to post a graph with Dating DNA. Happy to. Amazing what I've been able to accomplish with basically a hobby in one year with virtually no money compared to the tens of millions Linspire and Xandros have plowed through. I remember Michael Robertson making fun of a start up company that blew through $10M and had nothing to show for it. I wonder if he still makes those snide remarks today? =)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Fall Tivo Schedule

The new TV series are starting up. Thought I'd share what's on my Tivo. Am I missing anything good?

All the Sunday news programs, nightly news and political talk shows, all the news magazines, etc.

Prison Break (Mon - 8PM - 9/1)
Heros (Mon - 9PM - 9/22)
24 (Mon - 9PM - 11/23)
Boston Legal (Mon - 10PM - 9/22)
Penn & Teller: Bullsh**t (Mon - 10PM - 8/21)

House (Tue - 9PM - 9/16)
The Shield (Tue - 10PM - 9/9)
Fringe (New - Tue - 9PM - 9/9)
Damages (Tue - 10PM - 1/6/09)

Dirty Sexy Money (Wed - 10PM - 10/1)

Ugly Betty (Thur - 8PM - 9/25)
Survivor (Thur - 9/25)
Lost (Thur - 10PM - 1/1/09)

Amazing Race (Sun - 8 PM - 9/28)
(Sun - 10PM - 9/7)

Let me know if you have any recommendations.


Radio Interview with Dating DNA’s CEO Kevin Carmony

I was interviewed about Dating DNA on the Computer Outlook radio program on September 5, 2008. You can hear my interview from their archives at www.computeroutlook.com.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Have An Idea - TWO Competing Tax/Benefit Systems

Here's my idea...

We have TWO tax codes and TWO government benefit "packages." One would be set by the Democrats and on by the Republicans. Democrats can collect all the taxes they want from fellow Democrats, and Republicans from Republicans. Each party then has their own set of "perks."

For example, if you want "free," government-run health care, you can pay taxes to the Democrats and get that perk from them. If you would rather pay less in taxes and be responsible for your own health care insurance, then you could choose Republican. You get the idea.

Competition would then keep both parties on their toes. Everyone could decide which party gives you the most bang for your buck. High taxes and big perks? Or lower taxes and lower perks?

Of course, some functions would need to be agreed on and provided together from both parties (highways, national defense, etc.), but we'd have competition for all those fun little perks that politicians like to promise us (free health care, college education, welfare, etc.).

Of course, this plan would never work, at least not for the Democrats. Why? Because they need all those Republican entrepreneurs and business people to pay big taxes to pay for all their programs.

Obama's program is a simple three step plan:

1. Tax 5% of the population.
2. Give lots of perks to the other 95%.
3. Take all the credit, pat yourself on the back, and think YOU actually produced and accomplished something of worth.

No thanks.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Joe Biden Doesn't Want to be Vice President

I'm glad Joe Biden will do us all a favor by suffering through being Vice President when he doesn't want to be.

Fib? Gaff? Confused?

Just a few days ago (jump to the middle of this clip)...


Friday, August 22, 2008

Xandros + Linspire + Freespire + CNR = Zzzzzzzzz

It's been nearly two months since Michael Robertson sold off Linspire's assets to Xandros in a secret back-room deal, and the 100 some-odd shareholders still remain in the dark about this transaction. But, what about Xandros? What has Xandros done with Linspire, Freespire and CNR.com since this acquisition? At the time, I predicted this acquisition was just a front for the hidden motives of Michael Robertson and Xandros, and that it would in no way benefit Linspire, Freespire or CNR.com users.

So, what has happened since?

I haven't seen any change on the Linspire site since a Q&A with the Xandros CEO from back on July 7th. I also don't see any news on the Freespire site, and it's been over a year since Freespire 2.0 was released and nearly a year from the release date of Linspire 6.0. Even the Xandros website doesn't have anything new to report, other than the same FAQ from early July.

What I have noticed, however, is that Linspire, Freespire and CNR.com all continue to shrink.

Xandros did make this bad move. An attempt, I suppose, by Andy Typaldos to try and show some solidarity from Ubuntu. Has Andy even tried Ubuntu? Is he paying attention to the work they're doing?

I'd be curious to hear from any Linspire, Freespire or CNR.com users (what few of you remain) if I've missed something? Or is it looking like I was right in my prediction?


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Michael Robertson--Where's the Linspire Cash? (Part II)

Back on July 2nd, I asked Michael Robertson to explain to the 100 some-odd Linspire shareholders what happened with the millions in cash and assets that Linspire had just a year ago?

Today I received the below "Memorandum" in the mail from Michael Robertson, "President & CEO" (and sole board member) for Linspire. (Click image to enlarge.)

It should be pointed out that "The stockholders voted..." and "...the stockholders approved a plan..." really means "Michael Robertson voted..." and "Michael Robertson approved a plan..." since the minority shareholders were not asked to give input. This is the third time, that I'm aware of, that Michael has done things by written consent, without any shareholder meeting or input. The first time was when he fired everyone from the board of directors other than himself, the second time was when he sold Linspire to Xandros, and now this time when he said he'll be dissolving Digital Cornerstone, Inc. Those are all pretty significant events to do on your own, without other board members or shareholder meetings.

According to this latest memorandum, Michael has a plan to "distribute [Linspire's] assets." I wonder what the minority shareholders will be getting? Considering I offered to purchase shares in the company at $.50 per share just one year ago, let's see how good a job Michael Robertson did in running Linspire this past year. Will the minority shareholders see more than $.50 per share? The same? Less?

Also, about a year ago, I presented a plan to Michael to have the company offer to buy back stock from shareholders at $.50 per share. Michael turned down that plan, saying that the company needed to keep all its cash to run the business. He obviously felt by keeping all the cash in the company and running the business himself, that he could make the shares worth more than $.50 per share. So, let's see how Michael performed for the shareholders. Did he turn water into wine, or into toxic waste? (From my vantage point, this is what it appears he's done this past year.)

Lastly, I'm curious how Digital Cornerstone, Inc. could be dissolved when they have ongoing litigation? Just one example is I know they are being sued by a former employee because Linspire did not honor his employment agreement.

I stand by my assessment, that the Xandros deal was all just a big ruse by Robertson to take all the assets and cash for himself, leaving the minority shareholders with nothing. I believe that dissolving Digital Cornerstone, Inc. is simply the next step in his "I-hope-everyone-forgets-about-all-of-this" plan.

Prove me wrong Michael. Anything north of $.50 per share distributed to the minority shareholders and I'll happily eat my words. Anything less than that, however, then in my mind you're either a lousy businessman (who made a bad judgment in not doing the stock buy-back plan), a thief (who took unauthorized funds for yourself, father-in-law, and/or your other businesses when YOU SAID all funds needed to remain in the company for Linspire to succeed), or you simply never intended to "take care of your peeps" all along (and just wanted to see everything go to you).

Stay tuned. I'll be sure and report back what's left for the 100 some-odd minority shareholders.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What has Michael Robertson accomplished this past year?

I resigned from Linspire exactly one year ago on July 31st, and still no shareholders meeting or word from Michael Robertson to the minority shareholders as to what happened with their investment in Linspire.

This past year Robertson had time to predict the iPhone would flop, falsely accuse good people of crimes, shrink several companies, come up with dumb and exploitive new product names, and as recently as today, have his lawyers harass me, but he still seems to have no time for those employees and investors who wrote out checks to buy stock in his company.

Yes, Michael, we know, we know, YOU'RE #1. We got it.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Very Heart and Soul of Conservatism is Libertarianism

"If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." ~ Ronald Reagan

Read more of Ronald Reagan's views on Libertarianism from this interview he did in 1975. At that time, Reagan used the term "libertarian-conservative" to describe his political philosophy. Reagan’s record, while generally conservative, was not particularly libertarian, but one’s administrative decisions, constrained as they are by existing laws, institutions, and politics, do not necessarily mirror one’s underlying philosophy (consider Mitt Romney when governing the very liberal state of Massachusetts). This interview gives an interesting glimpse into the real Ronald Reagan.

It's good to get to know where a candidate comes form, where their true roots lie and what their underlying philosophy is. Elections have a way of pulling candidates to the center as they pander for votes, so if you want to know what will actually drive a politician once they're in office, look to their core values and beliefs, and not just what they say months before an election.

Ronald Reagan was, in my opinion, a great President, because deep down he believed in the libertarian ideals of smaller government and more personal responsibility. Barack Obama is one hundred and eighty degrees from Ronald Reagan in that belief. Obama may be pulling to the center to win your vote, but if you look at what he has said and done in years prior, you'll see someone who can't wait to raise taxes and let government step in and start solving your problems.

It's hard to find many things government does right, so why would anyone want to turn to government to solve more of their problems? This would be like choosing the worst shooter on your basketball team to shoot the technical free throws. It makes no sense.

Another good quote from Ronald Reagan, "I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves."

I couldn't agree more. If I need protecting from myself, I hope friends, family, church, neighbors, and community support groups will be there for me, not the Federal Government.