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March 04, 2009

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Hmm . . . I see Asus and Acer, particularly from a pronunciation standpoint, as a likelihood of confusion problem. It's all well and good for the company to dictate a pronunciation, but the USPTO at least lives by the precept that "there is no correct pronunciation of a trademark because it is impossible to predict how the public will pronounce a particular mark." I wholeheartedly concur with your assessment of the name's scatological implications as well.

But what troubled me even more in looking at the Acer product online is that its Linux OS is supplied by a company called Linpus. That's right, they took the "Lin-" prefix from Linux and presumably after some study, chose to add "-pus" to it. All I can think of is that they were thinking about the dexterity of an octopus, but I'm afraid that doesn't work linguistically when the suffix is preceded by "n." Sorry for the frolic and detour, but I thought you'd want to know!

Jessica: Thanks for enlightening me on two counts--USPTO's "impossible to predict" rule (which I've always assumed was just common sense) and the hilarious Linpus, which is so wrong in so many ways, at least to Anglophonic ears. But I suppose we'd better get used to Chinglish; some people predict it will be the next global language.

One thing about Asus is that the Eee is really their first really big success in popular consumer electronics. (They've had laptops in the past, but not with much market share.) The company has been around a long time, but has been primarily in the market of things like computer motherboards and PC components, where a goofy company name is perhaps less of a liability.

I agree that both company and product name sort of discourage you from saying them out loud, on the chance that you might be saying it wrong. Tricky for me, since I actually own one of these things. :-)

BTW, "Dex" is also the name used for Yellow Pages around here, possibly everywhere. (Looks like it's a (tm) for R.H. Donnelley Publishing & Advertising.) That likewise seems like it derives from "index."

PS Yay for the USPTO! Linguistic pragmatists.

I wonder if Scott Hamilton is familiar with this product as on last Sunday's episode of "Celebrity Apprentice", he insisted the Zappos superhero be named "EEE" - Everything. Everywhere. Every time.

The keyboard is where most subnotebooks get it wrong. They shrink it down too much or not enough. They make the keys a little bit smooshy, or they over compensate like the HP Mininote, creating a satisfying and solid feel that unfortunately drives the price up. The Acer though is different. The keyboard is decently sized, firm and easy to use. Our standard keyboard test involves writing articles, playing some games and writing the Jabberwocky poem over and over again – and we had absolutely no problems with any of them when it came to the Acer Aspire One.

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