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Submission + - The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer (avdi.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Advi Grimm posts about the trend throughout the industry of companies demanding that job applicants be 'passionate' about programming when hiring into ordinary development jobs. Grimm says, 'I love code. I dream of code. I enjoy code. I find writing high quality code deeply satisfying. I feel the same way about helping others write code they can feel proud of. But do I feel 'strong and barely controllable emotion' about code? Honestly? No. ... I think some of the people writing these job ads are well-meaning. Maybe most of them. I think when they write “passionate” they mean “motivated.” No slackers. No one who is a drag on the team. But sometimes I worry that it’s code for we want to exploit your lack of boundaries. Maybe it’s fanciful on my part, but there’s a faintly Orwellian whiff to the language of these job ads: excuse me comrade, I couldn't help but notice that man over there is not chanting the team slogan with sincere revolutionary conviction.' Is it realistic for employers to expect us to be passionate about software we're hired to build? If they're looking for the head of a major product, then maybe it's warranted — but for everybody, even the grunts?

Submission + - New Analyst Report Calls Agile a Scam, Says Easy Out for Lazy Devs (adtmag.com)

msmoriarty writes: We recently got a copy of a new Voke analyst report (for sale here) on Agile and the firm basically blasts the movement from top to bottom. Some highlights: "The Agile movement is designed to sell services," "Out of over 200 survey participants, we received only four detailed comments describing success with Agile," "Survey participants report that developers use the guise of Agile to avoid planning and to avoid creating documentation required for future maintenance," and " Be aware that the Agile movement might very well just be either a developer rebellion against unwanted tasks and schedules or just an opportunity to sell Agile services including certification and training." So did the analysts just talk to to the wrong 200 people?

Submission + - Internet-induced fear culture (or: Girls Around Me isn't the problem) (extremetech.com) 1

MrSeb writes: "Over the weekend, a story about an iPhone app captured the attention and ire of the tech world. Girls Around Me is a simple app that takes your location, and then queries Foursquare and Facebook’s location APIs to find any girls (or boys) that are geographically close. You’re then shown a map, powered by Google, with faces (pulled from Facebook profiles) pinned to it. Clicking a face lets you see more information about the person (again pulled from Facebook). Ostensibly, you’re meant to use Girls About Me to help you decide which bar or nightclub you should visit, but of course the tech world — and even the mainstream media — is instead labeling it as a rapetastic example of the lack of privacy afforded by Facebook’s default settings. You see, Girls Around Me wasn’t hacking Foursquare or Facebook to get this information: It was using open APIs to access information that, by default, Facebook and Foursquare make public. This isn’t a new feature of either social network, of course, but Girls Around Me is just the perfect, creepy illustration of why some information — like your location — should be friends-only by default. The problem with all of these apoplectic, spittle-drenched reports about Girls Around Me is that they assume the worst. They assume that people will use this app to prey on men and women. They assume that these people are all being hoodwinked by Facebook and Foursquare into sharing their location. In short, all of these reports are predicated on the assumption that we’re living in a world that is packed with rapists. I hate to break it to you, but we’re not. The world is also not full of terrorists, or muggers, or people who will steal your children while they play in the yard. The world is probably the safest it's ever been. Crime is at a 40-year low. What Girls Around Me really shows, in my opinion, is a perfect example of the fear culture that we live in — and technology is to blame."

Submission + - Police ask Google to Remove Brutality Videos (businessinsider.com)

Mr_Blank writes: Videos of police brutality at Occupy Oakland are all over the Internet.

A few local law enforcement agencies would like to get the videos off of YouTube, going so far as to submit a request.

The Internet giant refused.

Here's what Google said in a blog post explaining the decision:

We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove. Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests.


Submission + - Nintendo explains 3DS price cut and take pay cuts (nintendo.co.jp)

dowdle writes: "As as been reported all over the net and on here, Nintendo dropped the price of the 3DS from $250 to $170 in the US. Nintendo executives announced in a Financial Results Briefing that they are taking a significant pay cut as a result of the poor sales performance of the 3DS. How much of a pay cut? It is rumored (anyone have a solid source?) that Nintendo President Satoru Iwata makes the equivalent of $2 million US in salary and he has taken a 50% pay cut. Several other Nintendo executives are also taking pay cuts but not as large as Iwata's.

I wonder what percentage of US companies as successful as Nintendo have presidents that make around $2 million and how many of them would take a voluntary pay cut? My guess would be a single digit approaching 0. My respect for Nintendo has greatly increased."


Submission + - Monkey Island creator slams Apple control freaks (grumpygamer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Ron Gilbert, co-creator of classic games Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island 1 and 2, and many more, speaks out against corporate censorship in the way of large companies getting a say on what does or does not get published on the distribution channels they control. Although his insightful rant applies to a number of corporations (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Comcast are mentioned), most of the direct examples single out Apple. A few choice excerpts:

"...Apple has maintained an almost North Koreanish dictatorial control over the devices, becoming the arbitrator over what is good and bad, what is allowed and not allowed. They don't have this control over the Mac because it is a real computer and an open device, but they can do this with the iPhone because we (as consumers) were convinced by the cell phone carriers that they needed this control to protect their networks (in the same way they wouldn't let us own our own telephones in the 70s) and Apple was happy to jump on that ship because they could finally control everything that went on the device and we bought it into it. Apple apologists say that Apple needs this control to maintain the "specialness" of the device. I say that's a load of crap. Anyone that uses a Mac will tell you that much of the software (completely out of Apple's control) is beautiful and highly functional, unlike the sea of garbage that finds it's way onto Windows. Apple set a high aesthetic standard and challenges people to follow it and it's worked great. No one tells me what I can or can not buy and use on my Mac, yet it's all lovely and special.

"Ideas are often censored not because they are bad, but because they are not understood and mistaken for bad. The damage here is that truly brilliant ideas can take a while before their importance and genius is truly appreciated or that people are ready for them. Ideas can also be upsetting and disruptive to the status quo, the very institutions that have the power to censor.

"If Gutenberg's press could have be shackled with DRM and technology to prevent anything unauthorized from being printed, you know it would have been. And then where would be be today? I don't need corporations to protect me and limit what I can or can not create, express or enjoy. I'm an adult.

He also mentions Adidas dropping out of iAds because they couldn't accept Apple's excessive creative control, a photography app that was rejected because it used the volume buttons as trigger ("[it] was pure genius [but was banned] to avoid consumer confusion") and art being created on the iPhone and the iPad in spite of the devices and not because of it ("[Sam & Max and Monkey Island artist] Steve Purcell ... would sit in team meetings and create to most incredible jaw dropping pictures on an Etch-A-Sketch, but that doesn't mean it was suddenly a serious tool for the creation of art").

Submission + - Murdoch's Paywall: The results ain't pretty at all (techdirt.com)

phonewebcam writes: The bad news (ho! ho!) is starting to come out regarding Murdoch's paywall experiment, and as usual its money doing the talking — in this case the advertisers have finally realised there's no point advertising to nobody, so are boycotting in droves. To make things worse, the actual suppliers of the news stories are beginning to avoid giving their scoops and interviews to the Times since no search engines can pick them up:

"Faced with a collapse in traffic to thetimes.co.uk, some advertisers have simply abandoned the site. Rob Lynam, head of press trading at the media agency MEC, whose clients include Lloyds Banking Group, Orange, Morrisons and Chanel, says, "We are just not advertising on it. If there's no traffic on there, there's no point in advertising on there." Lynam says he has been told by News International insiders that traffic to The Times site has fallen by 90 per cent since the introduction of charges."


Submission + - Democrats pan Google-Verizon net neutrality deal (thehill.com)

GovTechGuy writes: Four Democrats wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging them to write strict net neutrality rules and reject the framework put forward by Google and Verizon. The lawmakers, which include Rep. Anna Eshoo who represents the district containing Google HQ, said the Google-Verizon proposal increases the pressure on the FCC to come up with actual net neutrality rules and characterize the deal as harmful to consumers and beneficial for the corporations. In particular, the letter took issue with two pieces of the Verizon-Google proposal: exemptions for managed services and wireless services from strict net-neutrality rules.

Submission + - Fark creator says wisdom of crowds is overrated (thehill.com)

GovTechGuy writes: Fark.com founder Drew Curtis thinks seeking public input on policy issues is pretty much a waste of time. The chief executive of the humorous news aggregation site said there is far too much emphasis on allowing anyone to comment when most people have nothing of value to say. His remarks came Tuesday at a media conference hosted by the Poynter Institute in Washington.

"The 'wisdom of the crowds' is the most ridiculous statement I've heard in my life. Crowds are dumb," Curtis said. "It takes people to move crowds in the right direction, crowds by themselves just stand around and mutter." Curtis pointed to his own experience moderating comments on Fark, which allows users to give their often humorous take on the news of the day. He said only one percent of Web comments have any value and called the rest "garbage."

Another example Curtis pointed to is America Speaking Out website recently launched by House Republicans to allow the public to weigh in on the issues and vote for policy positions they support. Curtis called the site an "absolute train wreck."

"It's an absolute disaster. It's impossible to tell who was kidding and who wasn't," Curtis said.

Bonus: check out the comments on the post, which are both hilarious and further evidence that Curtis is onto something.

The Media

Submission + - New York Times bans use of word "Tweet" (theawl.com)

An anonymous reader writes: New York Times standards editor Phil Corbett has had enough of his journalists' sloppy writing. Their offense? Using the "inherently silly" word "tweet" 18 times in the last month. In an internal memo obtained by theawl.com, he orders his writers to use alternatives, such as " 'use Twitter' . . . or 'a Twitter update'." He admits that " . . . new technology terms sprout and spread faster than ever. And we don’t want to seem paleolithic. But we favor established usage and ordinary words . . . ." After all, he points out, ". . . another service may elbow Twitter aside next year, and “tweet” may fade into oblivion." Of course, it is also possible that social media sites will elbow paleolithic media into oblivion, and Mr. Corbett will no longer have to worry about word use.

Submission + - Nero Files Antitrust Case Against MPEG-LA (osnews.com) 1

hkmwbz writes: German technology company Nero AG has filed an antitrust complaint against the MPEG-LA, the company that manages the H.264 patent pool. Nero claims that the MPEG-LA has violated the law and achieved and abused 100% market share, by, among other things, using "independent experts" that weren't independent after all, not weeding out non-essential patents from the pool (in fact, it has grown from the original 53 to more than 1000), and retroactively changing previously agreed on license terms. The MPEG-LA is run by patent trolls, so the group's behavior is not entirely unexpected.

Submission + - Economist: Shorten copyright terms (economist.com)

lxmota writes: The Economist says that long copyright terms are hindering creativity, and that shortening them is the way to go: 'Largely thanks to the entertainment industry’s lawyers and lobbyists, copyright’s scope and duration have vastly increased. In America, copyright holders get 95 years’ protection as a result of an extension granted in 1998, derided by critics as the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act". They are now calling for even greater protection, and there have been efforts to introduce similar terms in Europe. Such arguments should be resisted: it is time to tip the balance back.'
Open Source

Submission + - Open Source is Not a Democracy (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: A recent kerfuffle within the Ubuntu community serves as a reminder of an inconvenient truth open source is not a democracy, writes blogger Brian Proffitt. 'The discussion started innocuously enough, within Bug #532633 in light-themes (Ubuntu) on Launchpad, where the order of the window controls within the Light theme were requested to be re-arranged to be on the upper right side of any given window. Light, it seemed, now placed the buttons on the left side, similar to the Mac OS X interface.' The discussion turned into an argument and culminated in this exchange in which Mark Shuttleworth lays down the law:

"It's fair comment that this was a big change, and landed without warning. There aren't any good reasons for that, but it's also true that no amount of warning would produce consensus about a decision like this.

If you want to tell us > that we are all part of it, we want information, and we want our opinion > to be decisive. >

"No. This is not a democracy. Good feedback, good data, are welcome. But we are not voting on design decisions."


Submission + - Staring at breasts determined to be healthy (blogspot.com)

scott666 writes: A rather bizarre study carried out by German researchers suggests that staring at women's breasts is good for men's health and increases their life expectancy. According to Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist and author of the study, gawking at women'(TM)s breasts is a healthy practice, almost at par with an intense exercise regime, that prolongs the lifespan of a man by five years. She added, "Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female, is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out."

At the close of the study, the researchers noted that the men who stared at the breasts of females on a regular basis exhibited lower blood pressure, slower resting pulse rates and lesser episodes of coronary artery disease. In addition, she also recommended that men over 40 should gaze at larger breasts daily for 10 minutes.

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall