Monday, June 30, 2008

Xandros Acquires Linspire Assets in Secret Back-room Deal

Today, as a Linspire shareholder, I received the below "memorandum" from Linspire. I have confirmed with several other Linspire shareholders that they too received this same notice.

In classic Michael Robertson form, he has once again completely disregarded the 100 some-odd shareholders of Linspire by pulling off this deal without a shareholder meeting. Most states require shareholder approval of any merger or reorganization of a corporation, or the sale or transfer of all or substantially all of the corporation's assets. Regardless of state laws, common decency would dictate that even if a company only has 1 minority shareholder, there should be a shareholder meeting and the acquisition explained to all shareholders. What do Linspire shareholders get in place of a shareholder meeting? This completely worthless notice in the mail.

Why would Linspire pull off a midnight, back-room sell-off without a shareholders meeting? I'd ask them myself, but they haven't returned emails from me in the last ten months, and since they didn't hold a shareholders meeting in this matter, one is only left to speculate. So, here's my speculation...

This will end up being a completely insignificant event for Linspire shareholders and the end for Linspire customers. I predict this was done to: 1) help Robertson drain the company of its cash and resources. When I left Linspire, we had a very profitable year and the company had millions in the bank. I predict Robertson has moved this money to himself, family, and his other companies, leaving Linspire's minority shareholders with nothing. 2) help Robertson save face by issuing a "Linspire Acquired by Xandros!" press release, instead of living with the public humiliation that Linspire failed under his leadership. (Although, being out lasted by Xandros isn't much less embarrassing.) Such a press release will of course be meaningless unless the acquisition was substantial. As a shareholder, I will eventually find out. 3) Give Xandros a press release and perhaps some way for them to spin this to investors to raise money.

Just watch...this will not be good for Linspire's customers, partners or minority shareholders. I'd love nothing more than to be proven wrong! We'll know as soon as I hear what my stock is now worth.

Ten months ago, I offered Michael to purchase stock in the company for around $.50 a share (in cash). When we find out how much my stock is now worth, after this "acquisition," we'll see just how brilliant of a businessman Michael Robertson was. Let's see how much the value of that stock has changed in the short ten months since my departure. If I get more than $.50 for my shares (in cash, not some bogus, inflated valuation based on Xandros stock), then I'll be very happy and I'll be pleased with what Robertson and Kettler have done with the company. If it's worth a lot less than that, then I'll be very unhappy and it will show just how incompetent (or plane dishonest) Robertson and Kettler are.

To me, this looks like Michael, the "captain" of the Linspire ship, sees the boat sinking, so he casually tells the passengers on the ship that he's just going on a quick supply run, jumps on the only life boat with any cash and valuables he finds, paddles off to safety, and leaves everyone else behind to sink. Pathetic. I left Linspire with millions in their bank account and a plan, but Robertson and Kettler seem to have destroyed it all in ten months.

So, Michael, now that all the assets have been sold, what's my stock worth (again, no worthless Xandros stock please**), and what will happen with Linspire's customers?

Something tells me it will take a lawsuit to find out.


**PS: Before Linspire and Xandros try to spin this into something actually positive, I'd like to offer my Linspire shares to either Michael or Andy Typaldos (Xandros' CEO) for $.10 a share. That's 80% less than what it was worth just ten months ago. If this transaction happened at a good valuation, then I'm sure Michael and/or Andy will be all over my offer, right? I'll post here when they accept my offer. Don't hold your breath.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I WISH Gas Was ONLY $4 and How I'd Attack Our Energy Challenges

I keep hearing everyone whining about $4 per gallon gasoline. I wish! Here is a photo I just took of the gas station by my house.

Here is my solution for solving our energy problems:

1. Immediate drilling in ANWR and the 48 states and build new refineries.

I don't care that it won't produce anything for ten years. *I* plan on still being around in ten years. There is no way that the US can get off of oil in the near term, but if we wanted, we COULD within 15 years be 100% energy independent, putting us in a good place as we continue to move to oil alternatives. We're in the mess we're in because we didn't do anything the LAST ten years!

Even though we may not be able to use any of this new production for several years, just announcing that we'll be opening the flood gates of domestic production will bring prices down immediately, from both OPEC and the speculators who are trading in oil futures. History has shown that OPEC has ALWAYS LOWERED prices anytime they thought we were getting serious about energy independence. This time we need to not just threaten, but actually do it. If OPEC and the speculators believe we're serious, just watch how quickly gas prices come down.

Unfortunately, as gas prices continue to increase, Congress continues to blame others while ignoring practical steps to stop the pain Americans are feeling at the pump. To lower gasoline prices and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need real solutions to our energy challenges. I'd encourage everyone to sign this petition to get Congress to stop hampering our efforts to become energy independent.

2. Start building more nuclear power plants.

Given what we know today about all the alternative fuels, nuclear is the only one that can possibly match our consumption of oil long term. Other countries have done this, why can't the US? We can do this safely and in an environmentally friendly way.

3. Start building plug-in hybrid cars (and other cool technology).

The hybrid cars are only one step in the right direction. We need PLUG-IN hybrids. These are basically plug-in electric cars BUT with the back up of gasoline for those rare days you travel more than 60 or so miles. Most commuting in the US is under 20 miles per day. Electric cars and hybrid cars make a lot of sense, but a plug-in electric makes tremendous sense. (I'd recommend everyone watch this documentary.) This is also why we need more nuclear power, to feed the power grid as cars start moving from oil to electricity.

Clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar should be invested in and help us migrate away from burning oil. These won't be able to keep up with all our needs, and why I recommend nuclear so highly, but these are solid options that need to be exploited. Here's an interesting plan for wind.

4. Conservation.

This should come in two forms. The first is from smarter technology (more efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning, plug-in hybrid cars, etc.), and the second from just some smart planning on each of our parts, and thinking about how we water, light, heat and cool our homes, consolidating trips to the market, etc.

These four basic things would helps us have a cleaner environment, and aid the security of our country by getting us off our addiction to foreign oil.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Forced to Comment on EMI/MP3tunes Lawsuit

EMI filed a lawsuit against MP3tunes and Michael Robertson. I have never spoken in my blog about the EMI matter, because I was subpoenaed as a 3rd-party witness in this lawsuit. However, someone pointed me to the Wikipedia entry for Michael Robertson, where it was disclosed by others, not me (I have never made an entry to Michael Robertson's Wikipedia page), that I am a 3rd-party witness in the EMI case. Because I am a witness in this case, I will continue to remain quiet on the EMI lawsuit, other than to set the record straight on the following four statements in Robertson's Wikipedia entry (of which I think Michael Robertson made many of these statements himself as "Mykill"):

"...after he volunteered to help the major record label EMI..."

I never volunteer to "help EMI." I was subpoenaed to this deposition, asked questions by both sides, and simply told the truth. It will be up to the court system to decide who is "helped" by the truth of my testimony.

"Months have passed without any fact sheet or official documents which calls into question the validity of the claims."

This statement is false, as I have in fact filed official documents with the IRS and other government agencies. The statement is also misleading, since, as I mentioned in a previous blog, I was holding off on the "fact sheet" for certain reasons. I didn't say at that time what those reasons were, because I didn't want to mention the EMI case. However, now that this has been disclosed, I will share that the reason I have not yet issued the "fact sheet" is that I am in fact involved as a 3rd party in the EMI lawsuit, and there are two other lawsuits going on currently with Linspire (both involve Linspire trying to unwind the fair and reasonable severance payments I made to former employees who were laid off in good standing). I decided to wait on going public with the "fact sheet" until after these three lawsuits are concluded. I remain committed to exposing the truth and facts of the Linspire matter, but only after these lawsuits are concluded, as they may bring even more facts and light to the situation.

"He then asked for large portions of his testimony to be hidden from public scrutiny which raises suspicion of his claims."

My reasons for asking that my EMI/MP3tunes deposition remain confidential had nothing to do with "public scrutiny." The reason I asked for this, as I'm sure "Mykill" knows, was so that my EMI deposition could not be used in the two Linspire lawsuits going on now, or any future Linspire lawsuits, all of which have nothing to do with the EMI matter.

(No one knew about this other than the EMI and Linspire parties and their respective attorneys. I doubt EMI would have posted this, nor do I think MP3tune's lawyers spend their time on Wikipedia, so I can only assume that the Wikipedia user "Mykill" is "Michael" Robertson.)

On April 11, 2008, former Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony issued a collection of serious accusations against Michael Robertson via Carmony's personal blog. [9] Carmony's public accusations specify allegations that Michael Robertson/Linspire "has attempted to defraud a federally-insured bank, filed false documents with the IRS, knowingly filed a false report with the San Diego Police Department, and perpetrated deceit upon other federal and state government agencies."

Here is the actual statement from my blog: "The full story includes facts that lead me to believe Linspire has attempted to defraud a federally-insured bank, filed false documents with the IRS, knowingly filed a false report with the San Diego Police Department, and perpetrated deceit upon other federal and state government agencies."

The false statements on his Wikipedia page appear to be classic Robertson, trying to gain public favor by complaining about the injustices against him. I wonder why in his last Michael's Minute, instead of his minivan, he didn't show a photo of his Lexus sedan, his multi-million dollar beach-front home in Del Mar, or his 300+ acre ranch in San Diego? If Robertson and MP3tunes didn't violate copyright law, then they have nothing to be worried about. (Unless perhaps Robertson is STILL saying that didn't violate copyright law? If so, this might explain why EMI is going after him personally, as he would appear to be unrepentant. If he didn't believe violated copyright law, what would prevent him from doing it again?) I wonder why he's looking for sympathy from the public? Michael claims the big, bad record labels are picking on him, but what about multi-millionaire Michael, and all the little people HE'S kicked around throughout his life?

I'd correct these statements myself, but I wish to keep my status of never having edited Michael's Wikipedia page.


Monday, June 16, 2008

When Linspire Was Fab

When John Jones was here this past week, we got to thinking about the silly videos we did for Linspire over the years. I thought it would be fun to let others see them again, as just a bit of Lindows/Linspire history, when it was still a fun, interesting and growing company. I wrote the words and did some of the graphics, and John did all the vocals and pretty much all of the music.

Click on the video to preview it, or right-click on the download links to download the videos and/or songs by themselves.

Lindows Rock - June 2003

Before the name change to Linspire.

Run Linspire - January 2004

This was my favorite video of the three, a parody on the Door's "Light My Fire."

Linspire Five-0 - March 2005

Was made for the release of Linspire "Five-0."


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sunday Mornings Will Never Be The Same Without Tim Russert

What if, for the last 17 years, you met with the same friend every Sunday morning for an hour brunch, and then suddenly and unexpectedly, that friend passed away? That's how I felt when I heard the news about Tim Russert passing away on Friday.

In the last 17 years, it was a rare Sunday that I missed Meet the Press, and I will miss my Sunday morning get together with Tim Russert greatly. Think about many friends have you spent an hour with every week for the past 17 years? I've spent more time with him than most of the people in my life, so even though I never met him in person, I certainly felt like I knew him, that he was a friend, and an important component to my life each week. Now he's gone.

Being a Libertarian, I appreciated how Tim Russert tended to be tough on all politicians, not in a mean spirited way, but simply by being prepared about his guests and topics, making it very difficult for a politician to talk out of the side of his or her mouth and skirt around an issue. Few commentators had the cache' and respect that Russert had, so he was in the unique position that he could be tough and still have guests come back time and time again. Politicians couldn't say, "Let's skip Meet the Press because I know Russert will ask the tough questions." They knew he'd ask the tough questions, but they couldn't take a pass on such a key forum.

Tim Russert was known and respected, not just as a journalist, but also as a good family man of character and principle. (It makes one contemplate what others will have to say about us when we pass on.) He often said his secret to life was simply to, "Work hard, laugh often and keep your honor." The world would certainly be a better place if we all lived by that simple creed, and from what I can tell, Tim Russert did.

To get a small sampling of why I liked Tim Russert so much, watch this montage of him asking Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and others if they'll ever run for President...

There was never a good time for Tim Russert to leave us, but if he had to be taken, what better timing than Father's Day weekend? He wrote two wonderful books about his father and fatherhood in general. I have to confess that I never really thought about Father's Day much. It never seemed to have the punch of Mother's Day to me, but for the first time, with Tim Russert's passing, this day has some impact and meaning to me, and I suspect might from now on. I'm sure many of you know what I mean.

Here's a nice tribute to Tim Russert from Bruce Springsteen...

58 was far too young to lose such a great man. Sunday mornings may never be the same, but then, either will the lives of many of the people that Tim Russert touched.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Photos: US Open, John Jones, Alex Jackson & Linspire Ex-Employees

This week, I've had the good pleasure of having John Jones as my house guest. John lives in LA but is in town this week for the US Open, which is being held this year at Torrey Pines in La Jolla. We've know each other for years and have worked on several music projects together, so it's always a treat for us both when we get to spend some time together. John is a very colorful guy...a Grammy-winning producer (Celine Dion, Duran Duran, Fleetwood Mac, Alan Frew, etc.), the biggest history buff I know, and loves golf (not just playing it, but its history, courses and traditions).

Here are some photos from this week...

Last night John and I met up with several ex-Linspire employees for a fun get together at Stone Brewery in Escondido. (Thanks for putting this together T!) John took the photo. (Apparently, Linspire only has about eight employees left. My concern remains that Michael Robertson and Larry Kettler are destroying what's left of the company. They have yet to report anything to me or the other 100 shareholders.)

Here are some more photos that Cliff took. The next get-together of ex-Linspirites is a family pool party at my house next month. For those of you who missed the get together last night, hopefully we'll see you then. (Email Theresa if you're not already on her mailing list.)

Wednesday evening, John and I had dinner with Alex Jackson, a photographer and sports history buff from the UK who has covered the last 15 US Opens and has the monumental task of having to photograph every single player (150+) during the four days of the open. A really nice gent.

John prefers to be behind the camera, but we did catch him here...

I put together this quick montage of photos John took on Wednesday (the only day cameras are allowed without a press pass). Click on image to view.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Apple iPhone 3G - For those who still don't "get it."

I've been a huge fan of the iPhone from the very beginning, and in my blog told everyone to buy Apple stock. Apple's stock was $85 when I made my first predictions about Apple's stock, and today, just a year later, it's at $185. (This is where you should reach for the Subscribe link to my blog. ;-)

Just like a year ago, when the iPhone first came out, there were those who could only see the glass half empty, bemoaning the handful of things it didn't yet do, those same skeptics can be found today. These people, however, lack the vision to see everything it DOES do, and how revolutionary it is. These skeptics are like those who saw the first PCs from IBM and Apple 25 years ago, and because it wasn't perfect, assumed it would fail. I've never looked at what the iPhone DIDN'T do, I've always looked at what it DID do, and how it did it better than anyone else.

The iPhone isn't just a "phone," it's an entirely new platform. Any tech visionary would get that, and this is why my company, Dating DNA, was the first online dating site with an iPhone web app, and why we've been busy with the iPhone SDK to be the first to have a full-featured dating application in Apple's new iPhone App Store on the day it's launched.

With Apple's next release of their iPhone, the 3G, they have once again DONE a lot of things right. Already there are the skeptics nit picking over the fact it doesn't do everything perfectly yet. (I fully expect another blog from Michael Robertson pointing out everything the 3G doesn't yet do, like he did when the iPhone first came out, and completely missing the future vision of this new platform.) These people let the few areas that have yet to be developed, blind them to the fact that the iPhone is completely changing the mobile market. Even though the iPhone is a small percentage of the cell phone market, it completely dominates all other mobile devices for web traffic (web browsing, ebay, etc.). You don't need to be a genius to figure out that the iPhone has opened mobile computing up to a whole new area of Internet functionality. (Complaining that the iPhone doesn't have a "real" keyboard, is like complaining that your cell phone doesn't have a chord tethered to the wall.)

With the iPhone now having 3G support, enterprise support, GPS, and 3rd party applications, and all at a much lower price ($199), there is no doubt in my mind that the iPhone will continue to revolutionize the mobile market. Just watch how the applications market for the iPhone EXPLODES! 3rd-party developers will bring features and functionality to the iPhone that other mobile devices will only dream about having. Yes, Apple may not have provided every feature for the iPhone, but they HAVE now handed developers the tools to do just that.

Apple is doing so many things right, and not just with the iPhone. If you didn't listen to me the last time I recommended Apple stock, it's not too late.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dating DNA - Featured Users

Now at Dating DNA, each month we'll be featuring a handful of Dating DNA users in a music montage.

For May, you can find the women here, and the men here.