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Comment Marketing, customer service, and patents (Score 5, Interesting) 51 51

We have a Blendec. As a result of the Will It Blend? videos.

When Blendec received money from their competitor as a result of infringement of an actually innovative patent, what did they do?

They poured that money right back into customer service, by giving away (well, we paid $12 for shipping) one Wildside jar to their existing customers. Which I am now turning that goodwill into more free marketing for them.

This is brilliant on several levels.

Yes, their product is expensive. Yes, the quality is high. The value, in our house, greatly exceeds the cost. Thanks, Tom!

Math

Rounding the Bases Faster, With Math 212 212

An anonymous reader writes "The fastest route around the bases, mathematicians show, is one that perhaps no major-league ball player has ever run: It swings out a full 18.5 feet from the baseline, nearly forming a full circle. 'I would definitely experiment with it,' says former American Major League Baseball outfielder Doug Glanville, who last played with the Philadelphia Phillies. 'There's no question in my mind that runners could be more efficient.'"
Open Source

OpenBSD 4.7 Preorders Are Up 191 191

badger.foo writes "The OpenBSD 4.7 pre-orders are up. That means the release is done, sent off to CD production, and snapshots will turn -current again. Order now and you more likely than not will have your CD set, T-shirt or other cool stuff before the official release date. You get the chance to support the most important free software project on the planet, and get your hands on some cool playables and wearables early. The release page is still being filled in, but the changelog has detailed information about the goodies in this release."
PC Games (Games)

An Early Look At Civilization V 286 286

c0mpliant writes "IGN and Gamespot have each released a preview of the recently announced and eagerly awaited Civilization V. Apart from the obvious new hexagon shape of tiles and improved graphics, the articles go on to outline some of the major changes in the game, such as updated AI, new 'flavors' to world leaders, and a potentially game-changing, one-unit-per-tile system. No more will the stack of doom come to your city's doorsteps. Some features which will not be returning are religion and espionage. The removal of these two have sparked a frenzy of discussion on fan-related forums."
Games

Avataritis — On the Abundance of Customizable Game Characters 78 78

Martyn Zachary writes "The Slowdown has posted a new critique, 'Avataritis,' that attempts to portray the utilization of character customization as a pandemic, emotional response on behalf of publishers and developers to finding the easiest, most efficient solution to the very unique dilemma presented by the enlarging, widening player base of video games. 'No mechanisms are in place stopping developers from writing and designing heterogeneous yet fully structured, narrative-based computer games with carefully constructed and immutable, unchangeable characters.' The article discusses the emergence and role of gender criticism and research in relation to the recent proliferation of the customizable avatar. The story also dissects the very act of character creation, subsequently aiming to clarify several semantic distortions related to the terminology utilized in character creation, and in turn breaking apart the concepts of relatability and understandability, wholly differentiating the two. The overarching analysis is finally related to examples from the gaming marketplace, where many continue to corroborate apparent falsehoods and misunderstandings in relation to the utilization of the avatar. Ultimately, the writer hopes to dissuade readers, developers and players from believing that written narratives are going away as customization and emergent content are entering video games with full force."
Technology

Aussie Data Centres Brace For Dust Storm Barrage 148 148

An anonymous reader writes "Data centers and telcos in the Australian cities of Sydney and Brisbane have shut off external ventilation systems, restricted loading dock access and attended false alarms after a major dust storm choked the cities today. The storm is said to be the worst of its type ever recorded in Australia. Macquarie Telecom disengaged automatic deployment of fire-prevention gas from the fire alarm to prevent gas being released on a false alarm. Other major data center operators reported clogged air filters and heat exchangers and said they would be performing cleaning and maintenance operations this week."

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