Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Sandwich Strategy

A clever marketing strategy:

Branding pharmaceuticals to block generics

Interesting discussion today in the branding/positioning class about branding in the pharma industry.

We talked about how the patent on Prilosec (anti-heartburn) was expiring. It was selling for $3.95 per pill. Instead of accepting that generics would kill the market share of Prilosec, Pfizer pulled a marketing sandwich approach.

Prizer knew that the generics would sell at 61 cents each. Pfizer headed them off at the pass by releasing an over-the-counter version of Prilosec called Prilosec OTC and selling for 71 cents each. At the same time, Pfizer modified the formula/molecule, applied for a new patent, and released the new formula as Nexium, “The Purple Pill,” selling for $4.95 per pill. Prilosec users went to Nexium and paid the premium. And, the OTC version attracted new users and blocked the generics.

Basic marketing pricing strategy, but genius nonetheless.

So, Viagra will soon have a generic version to contend with. The generic name is mydixafloppin.

Yes, that was a long way to go for a short joke.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Which is an astrophysical term meaning, Yet Another Map Of Orion. Really weird things are going on in different parts of Orion, not the least of which is the Kleinmann-Lowe Object.

APOD has nice image today though.

Intellectual Property Rights

Hey! Oracle can't use this template, it's Microsoft's!!

For journalists covering Oracle..
2004-08-04: 34 flaws found in Oracle database software2004-09-03: US gov and sec firms warn of critical Oracle flaws2004-10-15: Oracle Warns of Critical Exploits2005-01-20: Oracle Patch Fixes 23 ‘Critical’ Vulnerabilities2005-10-19: Oracle fixes bugs with mega patch2006-01-18: Oracle fixes pile of bugs

In the interest of helping journalists cover Oracle.. perhaps they should just move to a templated form to save time?

Many of the flaws have been deemed critical by Oracle, meaning they are trivial to exploit, were likely discovered around 880 days ago, and are trivially abused by low to moderately skilled [HACKERS/ATTACKERS/CRACKERS]. Some of these flaws may be used in the next worm-of-the-week.

“[DULL_QUOTE_FROM_COMPANY_WHO_DISCOVERED_0_OF_THE_FLAWS]” security company [COMPANY] said yesterday as they upped their internet risk warning system number (IRWSN) to [ARBITRARY_NUMBER]. “This is another example of why our products will help protect customers who chose to deploy Oracle software” [ARBITRARY_CSO_NAME] stated.

“[BULLSHIT_QUOTE_ABOUT_PROACTIVE_SECURITY_FROM_ORACLE” countered Mary Ann Davidson, CSO at Oracle. “These hackers providing us with free security testing and showing their impatience after a mere 880 days are what causes problems. If these jackass criminals would stop being hackers, our products would not be broken into and our customers would stay safe!”

Oracle has been criticized for being slow to fix security flaws by everyone ranging from L0rD D1cKw4v3R to US-CERT to the Pope.

Well Said

I was looking at the blog of one of the commenters, Jake, and found this little gem:

Interestingly suicide, in many circumstanes, is still illegal. The government does not have the right to tell you whether you can take your own life. This is clear. Their interest in your life is also clear. The governement takes strong issue with taxpayers excusing themsleves from their duty to the state.


I'm appalled at how many of these things I remember although, to be fair, it was all winding down and there was an air of nostoglia about them even then. Still, I have a pretty good memory of being 3,4 and 5 years old and no small subset of these were part of life...

metal ice cubes trays with levers
Mimeograph paper
Beanie and Cecil
Roller-skate keys
Cork pop guns
Drive ins
Studebakers (I don't really remember this one)
Candy cigarettes
Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside
Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
Black Jack, Clove, and Beemans chewing gum (nope)
Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
Newsreels before the movie (no)
P.F. Flyers
Telephone numbers with a word prefix...(Raymond 4-601).
Party lines
Howdy Doody(no, not even in reruns)
45 RPM records/78 RPM, too
Green Stamps

Ugh! My life is a cliche!

A Late Christmas Gift

I received, to my complete surprise, a late christmas gift from my sister. A 35lb box of books, mostly related to stuff talked about in The DeVinci Code. I was pretty happy with the gift, and uncommonly proud of my sister for done the reseach to choose them.

But that wasn't the best part.

Tucked away in there was a framed picture, which at first I took to be a picture of her from our childhood. "I remember this, " I thought. "This was her picture from the house on Brookside Drive. Why would she send this one? That's odd..."

Then I noticed the hair was very slightly different, a little fuller than I remembered it, the cheekbones were slightly off, the smile slightly different and I realized...

"This is Alexa. Wow! Does she look like her mother! Wow!"

She is the spitting image of her mother. Ain't genetics keen!


An interesting article on 2050 and why there is some cause for..., well I won't say optimism, I'll say, "a break from the relentless pessimism I usually associate with where I think we'll actually end up".

Thursday, officials released a five-volume coda to the UN's Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, an ambitious four-year attempt to explore the relationship between the environment and human development. Summary reports of the findings as they affected four international environmental treaties were released last year. These new volumes represent the detailed information that underpins the earlier reports.

I peeked at an advanced copy of this I got from a meeting in September. It's pretty good. I was a little dissappointed to find some of my Looking Backwards events had already been thought through.

By 2050, it estimates that the highly global approach - with liberal trade policies, and concerted efforts to reduce poverty, improve education and public health, yet respond reactively to environmental issues - could yield the lowest population growth and the highest economic growth. But the environmental scorecard would be mixed.

In a fragmented world that focuses largely on security and regional markets and takes a reactive approach to ecological problems, economic growth rates are the lowest and the population is the highest of the four pathways.

Two other paths, which place a greater emphasis on technology and a proactive approach to the environment, yield population growth rates somewhere in the middle, and economic growth rates that may be slow at first, but accelerate with time.

Of course, in 2050, some folks will be living in their asteroid harems, guarded by a benign super-intelligence and propelled there by magic (or at least physics that does require the use of calculus to understand). Why not trash the planet now? It's not like we'll have to live here or anything.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Warning: Euphemisms Ahead!

I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain yet, but becuase I haven't been living in an Afgan cave with Osama Bin Laden, Elvis and the Ghost of Christmas Past, I have a vauge idea of what it's about.

Appearently, it's all about candy.

It's on Brokeback Mountain that Jack and Ennis discover their mutual love of candy. Because candy is not something cowboys and "real men" normally get excited about, Ennis and Jack resist their urge for sweets, but after awhile, it gets the better of them. One night, Jack looks at Ennis and asks him if he likes fudge. Well, it turns out that Ennis loves fudge. In fact, they both love fudge so much that they're certain everyone they know would like fudge and they should send them some fudge, so the two of them spend a lot of time on Brokeback packing fudge. And not only do they discover they like regular fudge, but that fudge with nuts is excellent too!

Google cut to 'sell'

You knew this was going to happen. I only regret I sold at $400, not $450

It had to happen one day. An analyst said Google (GOOG, news, msgs) is too expensive.
Scott Devitt, analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus, cut the search-engine company to "sell" from "hold." The fact is that when you purchase a stock, you purchase a business, and Google's cash flow over the next three to five year can't justify the current price, Devitt told CNBC's "Squawk Box."
And it was Yahoo's poor results that indicated the turning point for Google, he said.
"When dealing with a cult stock you have to deal with a change in sentiment," Devitt said. "Yahoo's missed number is a leading indicator for change in online advertising."
Shares of Google sank 3.1% in midday trading.

Doctor Fun

Doctor Fun is still alive! He was one of the first humorists on the internet back in the Eldar Days (the Eldar Days were back when I was in grad school and most of you had never heard of this internet thingy).

I lost track of this about 10 years ago, so I'm pretty excited.


Update: From the Doctor Fun FAQ

Is Doctor Fun the oldest comic on the Internet?
No. That would be
"Where the Buffalo Roam" by Hans Bjordahl. "Where the Buffalo Roam" started in 1991, and had its own Usenet group long before Doctor Fun came along, and is still running on the web.

Was Doctor Fun the first cartoon on the World Wide Web?
There you go! You've got it - Doctor Fun was the first cartoon on the World Wide Web.
Here's the
announcement from NCSA. (Of course, that link to the cartoon doesn't go anywhere now.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

100 Year Dow Jones Industrials Chart

Interesting, although there seems to be some arbitrariness to someof his time frames.

I won't comment on some of the logic he uses to ascribe events to causes, but it does show an interesting periodicty.

Why Do The Terrorists Hate Us?

Behold the Republican Vision for America

The angels are just over the top.

Writer: "Errr.. I don't remember there being angels in this..."
Director: "What do you mean?"
Writer: "Well, I didn't write them in. Where did they come from?"
Director:"Wha.. What do you mean? They came from Heaven!"
Writer:"... sigh... Why did they come from Heaven?"
Director:"??? What do you mean? They are angels! You can never have enough angels!"
Writer:" err... okay. But do they have to fly out of his ass?"
Director:"They aren't flying out of his ass, they are spreading the Spirit of America!"
Writer:"From his ass?"
Director:"From behind him. You don't know much about directing. Or Angels for that matter. Or maybe even America!"
Writer:" But I WROTE this song!"
Director:"without angels appearently. You some kind of atheist? You're a godless athesit aren't you?"
Writer:" no! I am a Unitarian"
Director:"An angel hating unitarian! I figured! I'm calling the FBI..."
Writer:"Fine keep the damn angels"
Director:"Great! Now we need to add in some 9-11 shots. That's so patriotic it will make people cry! Genius!"
Writer:" Why not just go for the jugular and film it with the whole series of 'Precious Moments' figurines being smashed by a gay Arab with the Koran? On a burning flag wrapped around an aborted fetus?"
Director: ... quiver... "ah.. ah.. I .. ..ah.. That's Brilli.."
Writer:"I'm outta here!"

Monday, January 16, 2006

Halstead-Reitan Battery

This was part of my neuropsych testing 2 weeks ago. I was calling it the Diamond Dogs test, but obviously it has a real name.

Ralph Reitan, one of Halstead's students, contributed to the battery by researching the tests' ability to identify neurological problems. In a remarkable study, Reitan diagnosed 8,000 patients using only their test results—without meeting the patients or knowing anything about their background.

Technically, it doesn't say they were correctly diagnosed...

A better decription of the session here.