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The Daily Business Review reported on a federal class action settlement by Sharper Image over its air purifiers. Unfortunately, for Sharper Image, Judge Cecilia Altonaga denied the settlement without prejudice. Fortunately, for us, Sharper Image had filed the Settlement Agreement already with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Here are some of the more interesting provisions:

§ 10.2 Settling Defendant agrees to pay an amount not to exceed $1,875,000.00, plus the additional expenses outlined in paragraph 9 above, subject to application for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses and Court approval, as full payment for all attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses incurred in connection with this Class Action.

For $1,875,000, the settling defendants’ lawyers got them…

As many recent homeowners have discovered, the only mortgage that offers a predictable payment plan is the 30-year fixed. Sure, the interest rate may be higher than for an adjustable rate mortgage, but fixing the rate shields the borrower from interest rate risks and rising mortgage payments—risks that have only now become apparent.

Homeowners who had taken out 3- or 5-year adjustable rate mortgages a few years ago are now facing higher monthly mortgage payments as banks prepare to reset the interest rates on their loans. Since interest rates have rebounded from their historical lows, you may find yourself unable to make your mortgage payments. Potential options include refinancing the loan, renting a room or the house, selling the house, or consulting with a legal professional to see what other avenues remain open.

Here are some articles to consider:

What do you think of when someone mentions the USA PATRIOT Act? Fahrenheit 9/11? Long lines at the airport? Domestic spying by the NSA? Well, I have a new item to add to that list. As the winter cold season takes its toll, honest citizens trying to buy some nasal decongestant will discover that Sudafed® has been replaced by Sudafake—courtesy of the USA PATRIOT Act.

I found the original Sudafed at a local Walgreens. Had to take a product card to the pharmacist behind the counter and exchange it for the actual contraband. Oh, and they asked for my driver’s license. I could see all my personal information being zapped into some database for the government to data mine. Thanks! And, if I somehow end up on the No-Fly List…

Walgreens doesn’t offer all cold products in their original formulation. For example, Robitussin only comes with Phenylephrine HCI and not Pseudoepedrine HCl (the active ingredient in the original Sudafed). So, buy accordingly. Personally, I think Sudafake is really a placebo pill, because it had no effect. Hence, my search for the tried and true.

KCET Hi Friends,

Everybody loves Hollywood and their protection of IP. And KCET, the public television station in Los Angeles (in Hollywood) is covering the latest IP’s unauthorized usage of X17 Online’s celebrity photos (and other companies’ photos as well, X17 are just the ones who are suing PerezHilton’s Mario Lavandeira).

You can watch a video on this The Fight Over Celebrity Photos on KCET’s Life & Time’s blog (and I added my prediction – X17 wins, PerezHilton loses). And you can read more about fair use on the Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center.

Voice of America reports that a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine has collided with a Japanese oil tanker in the Arabian Sea. If the submarine was not covertly following the oil tanker, I would be seriously disappointed. Maybe the submarine and the oil tanker were playing a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse. Please let me believe that was the case.

After all, submarines belonging to the U.S. Navy must have the most advanced navigational gear onboard. To truly strike a lumbering oil tanker despite all the costly electronics and trained personnel? Well, the thing speaks for itself.