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Comment CEO organisation leadership fail (Score 1) 82

If you are the CEO of a company and there is an inner circle of influential employees driving your business and you do not know about them you are not doing your job as CEO.

It is completely reasonable and often a good idea to have an inner circle of high-ability influential employees to drive your business (see, for example, Good to Great, J Collins). It is entirely incompetent of the CEO to not know who they are and not to be using them to build a successful enterprise.

Comment They didn't aim it at Sharepoint (Score 1) 350

Wave did not take off because there were no Wave servers worth a damn that weren't Google.
Wave protocol is a Sharepoint killer. It's not a new cool social medium, it's a workgroup and corporate information sharing system.
And I want to kill Sharepoint, because the stupid thing only works with Windows.
Many organisations do not want, or cannot, share their information with Google. Google doesn't even use any translucent database techniques to help users keep their data private. Google being a Wave server is useful for some public publishing, but there must be your own private Wave server for Wave to be usable by most of the target market. The target market is the market of Sharepoint, larger organisations who are always more careful with their data.
So Google's error was not to make something noone wanted. It was to make something none of the interested people could use, because they did not release a free Wave server to use inside your organisation.
They will make the same mistake, of assuming people will share their data when they won't, again in future.

And I really don't care that people, usually from Google, say that Google can be trusted not to read users' data. That's not relevant; they can be compelled to reveal it to random other authorities without the users' knowledge or consent, and if anything like that does happen, they don't give any information out as a matter of policy.

GNU is Not Unix

Software Freedom Conservancy Wins GPL Case Against Westinghouse 225

fishthegeek writes "The Software Freedom Conservancy has received a judgement against Westinghouse Digital Electronics for $90,000 in damages, $50,000 in costs plus a donation of all of the offending HDTV's that were using BusyBox in violation of the GPL. Given that WDE is nearly bankrupt it's likely that most if not all of the cash will disappear in a legal 'poof,' but it is a victory regardless."
Hardware Hacking

Mobile Medical Lab — the $10 Phone Microscope 54

kkleiner writes "Aydogan Ozcan of UCLA has developed a microscope attachment for a cell phone – turning the device into a sort of mobile medical lab. It's both lightweight (~38g or 1.5 oz) and cheap (parts cost around $10). The cellphone microscope can analyze blood and saliva samples for microparticles, red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and water borne parasites. Ozcan and his team have recently won three prestigious awards for the device: a Grand Challenges award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (worth $100,000), the National Geographic Emerging Explorer award (worth $10,000), and the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation ($400,000). With these funds, Ozcan plans on starting case studies in Africa to see how the microscope can help revolutionize global medicine."
Ubuntu

Ubuntu Will Switch To Base-10 File Size Units In Future Release 984

CyberDragon777 writes "Ubuntu's future 10.10 operating system is going to make a small, but contentious change to how file sizes are represented. Like most other operating systems using binary prefixes, Ubuntu currently represents 1 kB (kilobyte) as 1024 bytes (base-2). But starting with 10.10, a switch to SI prefixes (base-10) will denote 1 kB as 1000 bytes, 1 MB as 1000 kB, 1 GB as 1000 MB, and so on."
XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."

Comment Business problem, not tech problem (Score 2, Insightful) 362

This is not a technology problem. This is a business problem. If you are running a shopfront, online or offline, in a competitive marketplace, you need to make it as accessible as possible to all the customers you want. For eBay, that is "everyone" (for a hot-dog stand, it is also "everyone"; for a Rolex dealer, it's only people who can afford a Rolex). The higher you make the barrier to entry, the fewer customers you will have.
Now if you're a person wanting a partner to sell your stuff with, do you want the stupid partner, or the smart one?
If you're a customer wanting to buy, do you use the easy website that works, or the one that doesn't work right? What incentive is there for you to use the hard-to-use site?
eBay thinks they have incentives (product range, large base of existing users, etc) to overcome these things. They may be right. They could be wrong. It's their business choice to make it work less well for some people. If they are unable to make it both work better for some people and well enough for others, they may have a serious business problem; if they choose to make it better for some people and worse for others, that's a courageous business choice. If it makes them, or their sellers, less money, it's stupid.

Data Storage

What Data Recovery Tools Do the Pros Use? 399

Life2Death writes "I've been working with computers for a long time, and every once and a while someone close to me has a drive go belly up on them. I know there are big, expensive recovery houses that specialize in mission-critical data recovery, like if your house blew up and you have millions of files you need or something, but for the local IT group, what do you guys use? Given that most people are on NTFS (Windows XP) by the numbers, what would you use? I found a ton of tools when I googled, and everyone and their brother suggests something else, so I want to know what software 'just works' on most recoveries of bad, but partially working hard drives. Free software always has a warm spot in my heart."

Comment Re:Have NAS, will save (Score 1) 299

"Personal responsibility... try it!"

Oh stop being stupid with that red herring!
This isn't about "personal responsibility".
It's about transfer of effort and risk from the company billing you to you yourself.
And about companies removing a service that they have led you to expect will be available. This person is expecting to pay their last bill online, like they expected to (and succeeded in) paying their previous bills online.

Comment "Paperless" just makes you do all the work (Score 1) 299

"Paperless" or "Online" billing simply makes it entirely your own problem to remember to make the regular effort to access the billing information and print it off or save it (and back it up). It does not remove the requirement to keep your own archives for as long as you need them (which for financial information is as long as the taxman can ask for it!)
Many companies can and will blame you when you don't have a copy of the billing information because you didn't download it or relied on them to keep it available, from utilities to banks.
So the only way is to either archive it yourself, religiously, or have them send you bills.
$30 payment for going paperless, as offered by my bank? $30 doesn't pay for very much of my time spent downloading and saving records. I'll stick to having my bank send me the information in a handy-to-archive form on durable media so I don't have to think about it.

Comment Re:Correlation (Score 2, Interesting) 570

In some parts of the world, notably the North American continent, one cannot expect SMS between carriers to work properly; there are many missing routes, including where there is a route from carrier A to carrier B but not from B to A so you can't get a reply to your SMS. Also even when it works it can be very slow, transit times of hours are within my experience.
It's not like Europe where SMS can be expected to work so well that it effectively always works and is fast.
Of course the North American telcos still charge you for your SMS when it disappears into hyperspace because their network isn't configured properly, but I'm sure you all expected that.

Comment There's infrastructure as well as bandwidth (Score 1) 570

While it is true that SMS is carried in the control channel of GSM [1] and that control channel has reserved bandwidth not available for voice call channels, it is also true that heavy SMS traffic will saturate this control channel and that some carriers have had to increase the control channel bandwidth in order to make room for the volume of SMS. You can observe the control channel saturation (and resulting inability to set up new calls, while existing calls continue fine) in any major city in the UK from around 23:45 on 31 December to 00:30 on 1st January. So the carriers do have to put a bit more bandwidth into lots of SMS.
However there is also an SMS messaging centre to operate, which is a pile of computers to route messages, as well as storage on each cell base station for the SMS waiting to be transmitted to the handset - rather like email it's too cheap to meter, except for all those mail servers you need to forward and store the email.
The profit margin on SMS is clearly huge (consider that bulk SMS rates are at most half the cost of single SMS out-of-plan from a handset in the UK) but it's not 100% profit and 0% cost.

And finally, think about spam: the reason you don't get much SMS spam (compared to email) is that it costs quite a lot to send SMS compared to email. If you make SMS as cheap as email, you'll make it as spammy as email, and you need to think about how to avoid that.

[1] I'm going to ignore CDMA here, I wish the rest of the world would do the same.

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