Friday, May 29, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
New Zealand hosts penguin sports tournament
New Zealand is the penguin capital of the world, home to nine of the 16 species of living penguins, so it was fitting that it should host the world’s first ‘Penguathlon’.
The event running this month at the Kelly Tarlton Arctic Encounter in Orakei, just outside Auckland, sees King and Gentoo penguins go beak to beak in five icy events – football, Frisbee, surfing, swing ball and waddle races.
But the Penguathalon is about more than just delighting visitors. It showcases a variety of the enrichment activities developed by the curatorial team to ensure the physical, mental and emotional well being of the birds in its 80-strong colony. (read more...)
And here's how they do it in my penguiverse:
"Per a complaint from Perry Ellis International, we are investigating the use of the term 'PENGUIN' as it relates to their brand."
Google also says:
"As we mentioned earlier, our review process is manual and mistakes do occur."
So now I'm kind of feeling sorry for Google. Does it count as a denial of service attack when the resources being tied up are human?
Step 1: register a common word as your trademark
Step 2: trawl Google ads for your word and issue automated complaints
Step 3: wait till all of Google's humans are tied up manually investigating your complaints
Step 4: do something nefarious (like suddenly put out a ton of ads using everybody else's trademarks...?  )
 Yeah, I'm not very imaginative when it comes to nefarious.
Friday, May 15, 2009
This week's penguin: It's that time of year again, when penguins (and humans) perform heroic feats of cycling for a good cause.
And now, a word from your human:
Sponsor me, feel good, get a penguin.
Michael and I will be cycling in the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure fund-raising event again. This will be the seventh Tour for us.
Did you know that research shows that giving is a terrific way to feel good? I am not making this up; generosity turns on the same parts of the brain that usually light up in response to food or sex. I'm just saying. (Here's the actual journal article, for science geeks.)
As in previous years, I'll be making an exclusive "Tour de Herring" cycling-themed episode of Pengcognito; anyone who sponsors me will get their own shiny printed signed copy.
Everyone who doesn't sponsor me will have to wait till 2010 to see it on the web.
(Yeah, a cartoon. What, did you think I was going to give you a live penguin? You don't want one. They bite.)
Previous thank-you penguins can be seen here:
Tour de Herring! And why you want to be riding in front...
Penguins bike in some weird places.
Penguins on bicycles, for a good cause.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Well! I can now use the word "penguin" in an ad to describe stuff that has penguins on it. But Google still won't tell me who complained.
From Google: (regarding this)
My (admittedly paranoid) translation: "Some bot at a 400-pound-gorilla somewhere screwed up, but we sure aren't going to tell you who. However we still don't trust you, so we're going to vet your ads closely just to be sure."
Any veteran adwords-ers out there know if there is a Google watch list? Actually I thought once they decided you were a bad guy, they just banned you. It's not like I'm advertising "free macbook air!" (with a few strings attached) or flooding the net with autogenerated pages selling star trek ringtones. I'm advertising bumper stickers with penguins on, and the ad goes to a page of bumper stickers with penguins on.
(You might guess - and you'd be right - that I suck at this adwords stuff and that it just barely scrapes up enough new traffic for me to be wothwhile.)
And now I'm really curious. OF COURSE I'm going to keep asking :-)
 "Free" sure doesn't mean what it used to.
(edit: except for this:Get 17 Free AdWords Cheat Sheets, MP3s, and Videosfrom someone with a proven track record of AdWords success.)
"An office worker cleaning a fridge full of rotten food created a smell so noxious that it sent seven co-workers to the hospital and made many others ill. A hazmat team was called to the AT&T building in San Jose, Calif."
From the early early archives of Pengcognito:
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
In keeping with their revised slogan Google suspended one of my adwords ads because it uses the word "penguin", which is evidently trademarked. They said there was a complaint, but did not say by whom (the book publisher? The hockey team?)
My ad, of course, refers to the flightless waterbirds who are the herring-obsessed hat-wearing stars of my cartoon; my ad attempts to sell bumper stickers, t-shirts and other related penguin-themed stuff, not books or hockey players.
But now my ad can't say the word "penguin." Weirdly, it's perfectly OK to have it as a search term. So if you search "penguin cartoon" and my ad pops up, it will now say something like "buy some bumper stickers and t-shirts featuring a bird whose name cannot be shown here" or whatever I have to change the ad to. Enticing.
I wrote to Google asking "Who trademarked it?" 
Their support department replied (and I am not making this up)
 Yeah, I know there's a database out there somewhere, and I can do some research and find out the boilerplate-bot at the owner-of-the-word-penguin - but I'm mad. I'd start the email with "Dear overreacting word stealing trademark nazis:" and I'm sure it would go downhill from there. Plus I use the word a lot in the strip and I don't want them to cease & desist my cartoon. Could they?
Friday, May 08, 2009
Get your Mom what she likes, never mind if your friends think it's silly...