RedBerry

“Canada’s foreign affairs minister says he wants to crack down on Chinese spies who are stealing industrial and high-technology secrets at a tremendous cost to the economy… The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has been investigating economic espionage involving China… Foreign students and scientists, business delegations and Chinese immigrants are among those used as informants, says the spy agency… News reports last year said there are as many as 1,000 Chinese economic spies operating in Canada.” Montreal Gazette

A princess wedding

“Disney recently announced a new line of wedding gowns inspired by Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella that sell for as much $2,900.” Laura M. Holson, The New York Times

Gaming’s Dirty Little Secret

“We all know that Square Enix makes the Final Fantasy games or that Capcom makes the Resident Evil games, right? Well, not exactly. One game development studio — one of the biggest in the world, actually — has secretly been behind a lot of the games you’ve played. And you’ve likely never even heard of it… Based in Kyoto, Tose has around 1,000 employees (some also in studios in Shanghai and Tokyo), making it the biggest non-publisher game developer in the world. And almost every major publisher has used it at one point or another — yet few have ever acknowledged this. Looking at Tose’s list of clients, almost all of gaming’s big names are there: Nintendo, Capcom, Namco, Sony, Square Enix, and even major American publishers like Electronic Arts and THQ. Tose has over 1,000 games to its name — or rather, to other companies’ names. And it’s been working in secret like this for over 25 years.” Sam Kennedy, 1UP.com

Red Crosses

“A red cross symbol is not a generic symbol for first-aid, emergency, hospitals, healthcare or medical services, products or personnel. The red cross symbol is a trademark owned by the American Red Cross and protected by federal and state trademark law, unfair competition law and anti-dilution law, and it is also protected by federal criminal law (See 18 U.S.C. 706, 917). The American Red Cross vigorously pursues those who infringe American Red Cross trademarks.” Posterwire.com

Coffee

“Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme all sell pastries and caffeinated beverages, so they’re obvious competitors. But beneath that similarity, they’re serving different markets. Krispy Kreme’s customers visit only occasionally but buy dozens of donuts; that chain is peddling a dietary splurge, not daily sustenance… Starbucks chief Howard Schultz has always seen his stores as neighborhood hangouts, a sort of nonalcoholic ‘Cheers’ setting with comfy chairs, porcelain cups and, increasingly, wireless Internet access. Dunkin’ Donuts, in contrast, is increasingly built on speed. Most of its new stores feature drive-throughs, and the chain bills itself as a pit stop for harried commuters.” Daniel McGinn, Newsweek

Asian-American Avenue

“Now, if you had about a dozen ‘sponsors’ standing up at the ceremony, the guy was wearing a barong tagalog, they had too many people show up because Filipinos don’t really believe in the concept of RSVPing, and there was a lechon and some pancit, buffet-style at the reception - then perhaps I’d say ‘Hey, Ford, you are really talking to my reality. Thanks.’” Al Navarro, on Ford Motor Company’s ‘Wedding Day’ Ad

Dark side of the other white meat

“Smithfield Foods, the largest and most profitable pork processor in the world, killed 27 million hogs last year. That’s a number worth considering. A slaughter-weight hog is fifty percent heavier than a person. The logistical challenge of processing that many pigs each year is roughly equivalent to butchering and boxing the entire human populations of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Columbus, Austin, Memphis, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Charlotte, El Paso, Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston, Denver, Louisville, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Las Vegas, Portland, Oklahoma City and Tucson.” Jeff Tietz, Rolling Stone

Testing your skills

“When Salar Abdul-Baki won one of the 20 weekly prizes in Microsoft’s Xbox Live Plug-in & Win contest last week, he wasn’t home free. Like all winners who live in Canada, the 17-year-old resident of Mississauga, Ontario, had to answer a math question to claim his prize. The question — ostensibly a test of the winner’s mathematical skills — was typical of today’s Canadian product sweepstakes: Multiply 90 by 2, divide by 6 and multiply by 12… In reality, the test is a hack of Canada’s legal code by the promotions business. Canadian anti-gambling law makes it illegal to sell chances to win a prize, so promoters always offer a free method of entering each contest, and task every winner with a skill-testing question. By doing the latter, they argue, the game is no longer one merely of chance but a contest requiring some skill.” Robert Lemos, Wired News

We need to talk

“If you’ve ever wondered how it works, this is how it works: I don’t call Steve, Steve calls me. Or more accurately, someone in Steve Jobs’s office calls someone in my office—someone at a much higher pay grade —to say that he has something cool. I then fly to the metastasized strip mall called Cupertino, Calif., where Apple lives, sign some legal confidentiality stuff and am escorted to a conference room that contains Jobs, some associates, and some lumps concealed under some black towels. I stare at what was under the towels. Everybody else stares at me. This is how Apple, and nobody else, introduces new products to the press. It can be awkward, because Jobs is high-strung and he expects you to be impressed. I was, fortunately, and with good reason. Apple’s new iPhone could do to the cell phone market what the iPod did to the portable music player market: crush it pitilessly beneath the weight of its own superiority. This is unfortunate for anybody else who makes cell phones, but it’s good news for those of us who use them.” Lev Grossman, Time

Think different

“You have to understand how we do things at Apple. We think different. So, por ejemplo, as they say in the Netherlands, we don’t start with the phone, or the software. We start with the ads. We’ll spend months doing storyboards, writing slogans, making fake billboards that we put up in one of our windowless warehouses. I realize this is the reverse of how most companies do it. Just about everybody else starts with the product, and only when it’s done do they go, Oh, wait, we gotta come up with some sort of ad, don’t we? Which is why most advertising sucks, because it’s an afterthought.” Fake Steve, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs