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October 2004
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December 2004

Inequitable Tax to Pay for the Washington Nationals' Ballpark

The Legal Times Nov. 22, 2004 edition has an article entitled, "Smaller Firms Object to Baseball Tax Plan".  The article points out that the plan to pay for the new ballpark is to finance it with a new gross-receipts tax on businesses with revenues of more than $4 million.  However, the ballpark fee tax scale is capped at $48,000.  So a business or a law firm that grosses say, $300 million a year, will pay no more than a firm that grosses $30 million.  And firms in the $4 million to $30 million range pay only slightly less than the mega-firms or mega-businesses.

Battered Wife Wins Verdict Against Match-Making Service Through Which She Met Husband

From the Washington Post:


"A federal jury in Baltimore awarded [plaintiff wife] as much as $434,000 yesterday, returning a highly unusual verdict against the Internet matchmaking agency that introduced her to [her allegedly abusive husband]. Both sides said there were few if any precedents for the case.



"[Plaintiff] . . ., 33, had sued the Bethesda-based company, Encounters International, for failing to screen its male clients and failing to tell her about the so-called battered spouse waiver, a provision in immigration law intended to help foreign nationals escape abusive relationships without fear of automatic deportation."


This is a result that should gladden every female heart -- husbands now apparently come with warranties, at least if the initial introduction is through a dating service. 

Copernic Desktop Search Review

I uninstalled Google's Desktop Search, as it seemed to be slowing down my computer and I was not getting much benefit from it as it was not indexing WordPerfect files. However, I had seen mention of Copernic Desktop Search and decided to give it a try.

So far, I recommend Copernic Desktop Search. It indexes quickly, including shared network drives; it handles WordPerfect files; and it returns search results in seconds. There's no limit on the number of files it will index -- so far I've indexed about 23,000 files, and the index is about 203 mb. It will recognize Boolean operators in search strings (and, or, not), and you can use parentheses. There are also some simple filters to narrow searches -- e.g., you can choose to only search a particular folder, or limit your search to a particular type of file, such as .pdf files. Copernic ceases to index when you want to use your computer, so it basically gets its work done when your computer is idle and doesn't noticeably slow down the computer when you are working. It includes a simple viewer to preview files that are hits. Last but not least, it is a free download, at present.

I'm not sure what the overhead is, in terms of the ratio of the size of the index versus the volume of files indexed, but I would guess about 10-20% for text files. As with any indexing software, if you are running short of hard drive space, you will have to think carefully about what folders you want to index.

I was telling one of my partners about this software, and his immediate response was, "what's the catch?" I don't see a catch -- maybe I'm missing something. To me it looks like Copernic is offering this free desktop search software to establish market share, just as Google is doing with its product. Probably later there will be an enhanced version that will cost something.

[Later:  I decided to index more types of documents, and now CDS has indexed 36,000 files, and the index is 482 megs.  The keyword list has about 1 million entries.  Works great.]

Continue reading "Copernic Desktop Search Review" »

Blogs and the Insurance Industry

The Insurance Journal has an interesting audio feed of an interview with George Wallace, Esq., the author of Declarations and Exclusions.

The key to the usefulness of blogs, whether insurance-related or otherwise, is companion software called news aggregators. I use Sharpreader. News aggregators allow you, in essence, to create your own customized digest of news and weblog posts covering subjects of your choice.

Go here for more on news aggregators. (Later) Here is Rick Klau's review of SharpReader. Here is a link from Jerry Lawson that will take you to a round up of news aggregators.